Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orders".

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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:20 am


Almost half of ship's crew off WA have virus
Seven new cases of coronavirus have been reported on a bulk-carrier off Port Hedland in Western Australia, the day after a dozen crew members were moved into quarantine in the state.

The mega sized bulk iron ore ship Patricia Oldendoorff Is off the outer harbor at Port Hedland ( in the Pilbara WA)


WA Health minister Roger Cook said seven of the remaining nine crew on the Patricia Oldendorff have the virus.

It means almost half the crew are now infected.

The ship came from the Philippines, is nine nautical miles off the Pilbara coast.

Mr Cook warned there is a risk of new outbreak in the state if its not contained, with more cases expected to come from the ship. << CONFIRMED LATER TODAY 7 MORE , LEAVING A SKELETON CREW ON BOARD OF KEY CREW MEMBERS NEEDED FOR THE SAFE OPERATION OF THE SHIP >>

"If it gets out into the community it will create a disaster, worse than what we've seen in Melbourne ," he said.



<< I've fished the shore for threadfin and mangrove jacks and trevally near this deep water dyke
and fished under if when there were no ships loading ore at this , 70 ft deep at low tide 120 ft deep at high tide. < - yes that's a 12m tidal range at Pt Hedland.
The structure acts as a fish magnet for bait fish and larger predators , locals have been know to tackle some big mackeral and jewfish around this structure.
Can only it at the top or the bottom of the tide + or - no more than 1 hour because of the very powerful tidal currents that sweep even 8 oz snapper lead along the muddy bottom.
But the harbor at Port Hedland is the best fishing spot , there are creeks and beaches not far away and tidal mangrove lined bays that are much better , Port Hedland is not a fishing mecca like Broome or Darwin , it's an industrial port focused on exporting iron ore and other mineral ores and rare earth sands and sea salt >>

Sickest crew are taken off

A trained private security firm hired to keep watch of the ship, are also under a 14 day isolation.

A rapid response team was sent to the vessel, including the doctor who managed the Artania cruise ship and Al Kuwait cargo ship outbreaks.

The ship is now unable to dock at Australia's busiest iron ore shipping ports.

Vessel operators now working with WA authorities on a possible replacement crew. ... d=msedgdhp

Another 7 crew members from ship off Port Hedland test positive for COVID-19
Crew from the Patricia Oldendorff have been quarantined in the Hedland Hotel

Cops at the Hedland Hotel on guard duty.

Key points:
Initially, two Patricia Oldendorff crew members tested positive for COVID-19
Overnight, another seven cases were identified among the remaining crew
Health Minister Roger Cook said the new cases would remain on the ship

Seven more crew members from a bulk carrier anchored off the Western Australian coast near Port Hedland have tested positive for COVID-19.

A total of nine crew from the Patricia Oldendorff have now tested positive to the virus, WA Health Minister Roger Cook confirmed, following testing overnight.

The ship, with 20 Filipino crew on board, anchored off Port Hedland in WA's North West on September 16.

Initially, two crew members tested positive to COVID-19 and were taken to a local hotel for quarantine, along with 10 other crew members.

A skeleton crew of nine people remained on board to keep the ship operating.

Mr Cook said of those nine, seven had now tested positive to COVID-19.

He said while it was not ideal, they would remain on board to help manage the ship.

None of the nine positive crew members currently require hospitalisation.

The vessel operators are working with health authorities and canvassing the possibility of bringing in a replacement crew, Mr Cook added.

The ship will receive a deep clean before any new crew is permitted on board.

Mr Cook said the Health Department expected additional crew would test positive in coming days and he sought to reassure the local community "every safety measure" was being put in place to protect them.

Overnight, WA recorded one new COVID-19 case, separate from the Patricia Oldendorff cases.

The new case was a family member connected to a returning Australian from overseas, who remained in hotel quarantine.

Mr Cook said the new cases from the ship would be captured in Sunday's COVID-19 figures.

AMA urges Government to contain virus
The other two crew members still on board the ship tested negative to the virus, but serology testing will be conducted to check if they had it previously.

WA Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson said the seven positive crew members on board were well but would be removed if their symptoms worsened.

He said cleaning had already started on board in maintenance areas but a deep clean would not start until all the crew members are removed from the ship.

WA health authorities have previously managed COVID-19 outbreaks on the Artania cruise ship and the Al Kuwait livestock carrier.

Australian Medical Association national president Omar Khorshid said the Government must contain the virus.

"It's really important that this virus does not get out into the Port Hedland community," Dr Khorshid said.

"We know we have a number of vulnerable people in the northern parts of Western Australia, and if it gets out into the community it will create a disaster worse than what we've seen in Melbourne."

Dr Robertson said there was always a hypothetical risk an outbreak could occur but "I'm very confident we have all the requirements in place to ensure that we will be able to manage these people as we did with the Al Kuwait". ... d/12707342
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:10 am, edited 3 times in total.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 26, 2020 8:50 am


JobSeeker made them 'feel human again', but now the payment is winding down
Key points:
JobSeeker has allowed Paulene Hutton to stock her fridge with fresh food, keep her car full of petrol and pay off debts
Bane Williams says JobSeeker has meant he can get more regular haircuts, buy new clothes and have driving lessons
The JobSeeker payment has just been reduced from $1,100 a fortnight to $800 a fortnight

Paulene Hutton used to find ways to hide her financial stresses from her family.
The 53-year-old single mum of two in Brisbane was on the Newstart allowance of $40 a day, an amount welfare groups say keeps vulnerable Australians in poverty.

Even with her casual shifts in retail, it was not enough to get by.

"Sometimes late at night, I would actually sit there and cry because I really couldn't work out how to stretch the money any further," she told 7.30. "It was always robbing Peter to pay Paul."

If her children noticed her crying she would pretend it was nothing.

"Sometimes my older son would hear me, and I would just joke it off, that I was watching something sad on TV."

But suddenly, because of the pandemic, her world has opened up. Newstart was renamed JobSeeker and the payment was doubled, with the $550 coronavirus supplement, taking the payment to $1,100 a fortnight. That has granted her greater access to the basic necessities most Australians can afford.

Ms Hutton is no longer skipping meals so her children can eat — the fridge is full of fresh food. New clothes have given her a renewed sense of confidence to apply for jobs. There is enough petrol in the car to drive to the shops or to the park where her 9-year-old daughter likes to play, and she has paid off debts she owed on the household appliances she was renting to buy.

"Some weeks I would have less than $100 to feed the three of us, so there'd be no extras," Ms Hutton said.

"The biggest problem when we were on $40 a day is if anything went wrong. Even something as simple as picking up a nail in the tyre, I would have to think, 'can I afford to get that fixed this fortnight, can I afford to get it next fortnight?' That money comes out of the food budget because there was no other leeway whatsoever."

'Enough money that I can look presentable'
Before JobSeeker was announced in March, about 720,000 Australians were on Newstart. That figure has now doubled to 1.4 million under the JobSeeker program, as thousands of new Australians are introduced to the realities of being jobless.

But for those who were already on the old system, learning to live without was second nature.

"Until you're really poor, you don't understand some of the things that people take for granted," said Bane Williams, an aspiring journalist in Adelaide.

The 36-year-old has been on and off welfare for the past decade, but the increased payment has made him "feel human again".

One of the first things he did was get a haircut.

"I was walking through the local mall and I looked at the hairdresser, then I realised, 'oh wait, I have enough money that I can look presentable'," he told 7.30.

"On the previous payment, I would get a haircut every six months, maybe a year between each time."

He is still getting used to a new way of thinking.

"Normally my brain would be, 'Oh no, can't purchase that, oh no, can't do that, oh no, can't go out,'" he said.

"[Now it's], 'Oh no, I can afford a nice pair of pants that I'll wear for my next interview. I can afford good clothes for the winter so I'm not freezing cold.'"

'A more happy, freeing life'
This week the Federal Government began tapering down the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement by $300 a fortnight, taking the fortnightly total to $800. The supplement is due to expire at the end of the year, and welfare groups fear JobSeeker will revert to the original $40 a day for 1.4 million Australians.

While the Government has hinted that some level of extra support will continue into 2021, it is unclear how long it will last, or whether the Government will increase the permanent rate of JobSeeker for good.

Mr Williams said the coronavirus supplement has given him more freedom and less preoccupation with managing every cent.

"Now I've been able to experience a more happy, freeing life. To have that taken away just because the Government chooses not to renew or raise the rate in any way is a major problem," he said.

Mr Williams has been on his learner permit for the past five years and now has enough money to pay for driving lessons to get his P-plates. Eventually, he hopes to buy a used car.

"If I have my P-plates and have a car, that will allow me to do various things in the gig economy. It just opens doors," he said.

Both Mr Williams and Ms Hutton are reassessing what they will need to cut back as the JobSeeker winds down, but they are urging the Federal Government to increase the permanent rate of JobSeeker, even by a modest amount.

"The stress relief has freed me up to think about other things, to apply for jobs in ways that I would never have thought of before because I was too stressed to think straight," Ms Hutton said.

"When people are happier, they're more productive. They would have more productive people if they raised the rate." ... n/12699230


Regional Australia has 45,000 job vacancies, with more available in some places than before coronavirus, data shows
he's reluctant to use the word "empire" — but when it comes to business, Kerrieanne Nichols is a force to be reckoned with in Dubbo, in NSW's Central West.

She owns a hotel, a restaurant, cafe, and operates another two cafes and a bar under licence.

All up, she has around 50 staff.

But it's not enough.

"We're looking for four chefs [and] need up to probably another three housekeeping team," she said.

"We need a maintenance man. I'm looking for three more baristas. We would like some floor staff as well.

"There's definitely plenty of jobs in Dubbo."

Her businesses were hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year.

She had to let go of some of her staff and close one of her cafes. But as things have started to recover, workers have been tough to find.

And with school holidays starting next week in NSW, she's worried.

"Now that the restrictions have lifted, it's much harder to actually gain staff," she said.

"We just won't have [the people] to be able to cope with the numbers visiting Dubbo."

The 'perennial problem'
For some parts of regional Australia, filling jobs is a persistent problem. COVID-19 or not.

"There is a perennial problem outside the capital cities and getting people to come and work in what are actually quite good jobs," Regional Australia Institute (RAI) chief economist Kim Houghton said.

The RAI uses Federal Government figures that track "internet vacancies" for job openings posted online by employers.

In August, there were more than 45,000 job vacancies posted in regional Australia.

That was 14 per cent more vacancies than in July.

And according to the data, in some regions there are actually more job vacancies posted now than there were before the COVID-19 economic slowdown.

"Those regions are generally places that are fairly strong in mining and agriculture industries," Dr Houghton said.

"And we've seen across this whole pandemic issue that those places have actually held up."

Busting the myth
Dubbo had 50 per cent more job vacancies in August this year than it had in August 2019, while the South West of Western Australia had 32 per cent more vacancies than a year ago and the Yorke Peninsula and Clare Valley in South Australia had 25 per cent more vacancies.

"The overall perception is that there aren't many jobs in regions and that we've been trying to, sort of, bust that myth," Dr Houghton said.

There has been speculation that the amounts paid under JobKeeper and JobSeeker could be discouraging people from looking for jobs.

In regions such as Mid North Coast of NSW, the JobKeeper payment amounts to 98 per cent of the region's median income, according to calculations from the RAI.

JobSeeker and the Coronavirus Supplement amount to 73 per cent of the median income.

But that doesn't explain the persistent jobs glut that existed before the pandemic. It seems a big part of the problem is the pull of Australia's urban areas — home to more than 85 per cent of the population.

Even in a pandemic, it takes more than just economic factors to lure people away from Australia's cities.

For Ricky Banks, a "born and bred city boy", moving to the regions has been an upheaval.

But as his business collapsed in Queanbeyan, near Canberra, the 32-year-old electrician said he had no choice.

"It was a big wake-up call [so] I decided to up my life and head to the country and try out my electrician skills on a new platform, I guess."

Two weeks ago he moved to Wellington, about 50km from Dubbo, to work on a solar farm now under construction.

He will be working 76 hours a week for at least the next 4 months.

"Regional Australia is screaming for blokes all over," he said.

"Yes, it's long hours. But do you want to sit at home being depressed and miserable? Or do you want to go out and actually go earn the money?"

For him, the hardest part was leaving his six-year-old daughter behind. She's still in Canberra with his former partner.

And as much as he appreciates the chance to earn good money, his daughter was the reason he would think twice about moving to regional Australia permanently.

"Change for little kids is always scary. Me moving away, that's scary for her, scary for me," he said.

Getting past the 'alarming upheaval'
Griffith University psychology professor Paula Brough said most people believed there were "more opportunities" in the city.

"Everything from social networks, to access to sports and culture, to perceptions about options for education all come into play," Professor Brough said.

"I think people just get used to having so much choice around them, so much busyness, that it can be quite a quite alarming upheaval to suddenly change your whole lifestyle."

Back in Dubbo, business owner Kerrieanne Nichols hopes more people follow Rick Banks's lead. And hopefully, stay for good.

"I think it's just not realising what regional can provide," she said.

"The good thing about if people were to move regional, it would give us a higher skill set.

"And I know that we're definitely crying out for skill set [and] there's so much to offer in the regions as well."


Out of work pilots re-training to help grain farmers
Pandemic restrictions has led to a shortfall in qualified operators to drive headers, tractors and trucks in Western Australia.


PM backs Aust strategy on COVID-19
Success over the coronavirus is a combination overcoming both the health and economic challenges, saving lives and saving jobs, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.

Mr Morrison says considering Australia's response to the twin crises sparked by COVID-19, it has performed better than almost every other country.

"We are in an extraordinary time. None of us could have imagined what 2020 would have become," the PM told the South Australian Liberal Party annual meeting in Adelaide on Saturday.

"It has been a hard and a tough year like few we have ever known."

The PM said the global economy would fall by six per cent this year and in the June quarter the Australian economy fell by seven per cent.

He said having put in place strong health disciplines to suppress the virus, Australia's focus must also be on "getting the jobs back, getting the businesses open again".

"We cannot allow the virus to tell us how to live," he said.

"We have to live with the virus. You can't pretend it's not there.

"We are dealing with a set of conditions which mean you can't do government as usual. You can't do politics as usual.

"You have to have an unprecedented response and you have to stay very focused on what you're trying to achieve."

The meeting was held under COVID-19 restrictions with seats spaced 1.5 metres apart, though long lines to enter showed less strict compliance with social distancing.

Mr Morrison was only able to go to Adelaide after the state government eased COVID-19 border restrictions on Thursday, dropping the two-week quarantine requirement.

The PM said he had been "busting" to come to Adelaide and expected thousands of Sydneysiders to "be right behind me", providing an $800 million boost to the state's economy.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall told the meeting Adelaide was currently the safest city in the safest country and had led the nation in its response to the pandemic.

He said the state had also arrested the "brain drain" of young people and skilled professionals leaving SA for opportunities elsewhere.

The premier said latest figures to the end of March, which did not factor in the impact of the coronavirus, showed total migration from SA amounted to just more than 200 people, a significant turnaround.

"There's much more work to be done but let's continue to work together," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

South-east states set for coldest spring day in 23 years
Had gales here overnight , some strong enough to make the walls and window frames creak.
Was blood chilly overnight too , but all blow out and sunny but cold today.
Temperatures are set to plummet across Australia's south-east in the coming days as a low pressure system lashes the region and brings heavy rain, damaging winds and snow.

Adelaide will cop a soaking on Thursday with up to 15mm rain forecast, followed by a top of 13C on Friday - the city's coldest spring day since 1997.

Melburnians should also keep their umbrellas handy with up to 20mm of rain and a top of just 12C tipped on Friday, which would be its chilliest September day in 20 years.

'Local hail, with isolated thunderstorms in the morning and afternoon. Heavy falls possible about the nearby hills,' the Bureau of Meteorology forecast for Melbourne said.

The miserable conditions will continue into the weekend with a top of 13C on Saturday and 14C on Sunday.

It will be a slightly warmer weekend in Adelaide with maximums of 15C and 18C on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

The complex low system, which will see temperatures plummet up to 10 below average, is rare for this time of the year.
'It's rare to see it this late in the year,' Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino told Yahoo News Australia.

'It's an interesting system but it also could be a dangerous weather event.

'We could see damaging winds, thunderstorms and hail so check for warnings in your area.'

Low-lying snow is expected to Tasmania, southern and central NSW, the ACT, and Victoria around 700-800 metres above sea level on Friday into Saturday.

The mainland alpine areas are also expected to get a dusting.

Tasmania will also feel the force of the rare cold front.

'Cooler conditions and showers with a series of fronts and troughs to end the week for Tasmania. Snowfalls to around 700m in the west and south, and to around 900m elsewhere,' BOM tweeted.

In the ACT, Canberra can expect showers and a top of just 11C on Friday.

The rain and chilly conditions will continue into the weekend, where the nation's capital will wake up to a 1C on Saturday and 0C on Sunday.

Over in the west, temperatures in Perth will plummet in the coming days from 31C on Thursday down to 24C on Friday and a wet 21C forecast for the weekend.

Much of NSW will be unaffected by the extreme cold front.

Sydneysiders will see a top of 24C on Friday before temperatures cool down to 20C on Saturday and 19C on Sunday for the start of the school holidays.

Brisbane will remain sunny with a top of 30C on both Thursday and Friday before dropping to 26C over the weekend while in the Top End, Darwin's temperatures will remain in the mid-30s



THURSDAY: Min 11 Max 21 sunny

FRIDAY: Min 8 Max 22 thunderstorms

SATURDAY: Min 9 Max 17 cloudy

SUNDAY: Min 9 Max 16 mostly sunny


THURSDAY: Min 12 Max 29 sunny

FRIDAY: Min 14 Max 28 sunny

SATURDAY: Min 9 Max 25 sunny

SUNDAY: Min 11 Max 24 sunny


THURSDAY: Min 7 Max 14 rain

FRIDAY: Min 7 Max 13 rain

SATURDAY: Min 6 Max 15 mostly sunny

SUNDAY: Min 9 Max 18 mostly sunny


THURSDAY: Min 4 Max 12 cloudy

FRIDAY: Min 6 Max 11 rain

SATURDAY: Min 4 Max 11 sunny

SUNDAY: Min 6 Max 12 sunny


THURSDAY: Min 8 Max 14 cloudy

FRIDAY: Min 7 Max 11 rain

SATURDAY: Min 7 Max 12 rain

SUNDAY: Min 6 Max 13 mostly sunny


THURSDAY: Min 14 Max 29 sunny

FRIDAY: Min 13 Max 22 sunny

SATURDAY: Min 12 Max 20 rain

SUNDAY: Min 12 Max 19 sunny


THURSDAY: Min 2 Max 12 mostly fine

FRIDAY: Min 1 Max 8 rain

SATURDAY: Min 0 Max 11 sunny

SUNDAY: Min 0 Max 14 sunny


THURSDAY: Min 25 Max 33 sunny

FRIDAY: Min 24 Max 32 sunny

SATURDAY: Min 25 Max 32 sunny

SUNDAY: Min 25 Max 33 sunny ... d=msedgdhp

Hundreds without power a day after wild Sydney storms
Emergency services have spent the day cleaning up after destructive winds last night brought down trees and power lines across Sydney.

There were still 800 homes without power across the city's west, Endeavour Energy said in a statement this afternoon, but the firm said it hoped they'd all have electricity back on by tonight.

"At the height of the storm, 19,500 homes and businesses were without power which caused 200 electrical hazards across many parts of Greater Western Sydney," it added.

Sydney's west and south-western suburbs were hit particularly hard with Camden recording winds of up to 115km/h - some of the strongest for 15 years.


The SES has had over 500 calls for help.

n Edmonton Park, a home collapsed and a roof was torn off its rafters and caught in power lines.

Sydney Airport recorded its strongest winds in three years with gusts of up to 100km/h which sent a shipping container flying. ... wsrc%5Etfw

A KFC in Hoxton Park had its giant advertising bucket torn apart by the winds, forcing NSW Fire and Rescue to attend to help.

"Firefighters found the bucket was disintegrating in the wind and large sharp panels were at risk of falling and blowing onto the road and footpath," it said in a statement.

Crews also attended numerous other storm and wind related calls, including a large tree down on a car on Campbelltown Road in Bardia.

The the driver only suffered minor injuries .

A tree also fell down in Warrimoo near the Blue Mountains causing significant traffic delays for the start of the school holidays. ... d=msedgdhp
Last edited by kingofnobbys on Sat Sep 26, 2020 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:34 am


Bali's coronavirus outbreak was so under control, they welcomed tourists. Now cases are exploding
Key points:
Bali started welcoming domestic tourists back on July 31
Up to 4,000 people are arriving on the island each day
Deaths from COVID-19 in Bali have risen five-fold since tourists were allowed

Bebalang village is best known to tourists as a stop on Bali's Eat, Pray, Love tour for fans of Elizabeth Gilbert's famous memoir.

But now this small village at Bangli, north-east of Ubud, is the final destination for scores of victims dying from suspected COVID-19.

As the spread of coronavirus accelerates across Bali, workers at the Bebalang crematorium say they are struggling to keep up with demand.

It is one of the few crematoriums on the island designated to deal with the bodies of people who died with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.

The official COVID-19 death toll on the resort island is about 241, but Indonesia's rate of testing is among the lowest in the world.

Before the pandemic, the Sagraha Mandra Kantha Santhi facility would cremate roughly one body a day.

"Lately we have about eight to 10 bodies a day, but one time we had 18 bodies," said the head of the facility, I. Nyoman Karsana.

Typically, coffins are lined up in an area surrounded by tropical forest.

A Hindu priest offers final prayers and staff in full protective gear lay out offerings of flowers or food to help the dead on their journey to eternity.

The cremation itself is done outdoors and in full public view, with small family groups allowed to watch from nearby.

It is a grim turn of events for an island that appeared to have coronavirus under control — even as it raged in other parts of the archipelago.

Bali took a risk by opening up
Bali now has one of the fastest-rising death rates from coronavirus in Indonesia, since the provincial government reopened the island to domestic tourism.

Deaths from COVID-19 in Bali have risen five-fold since July 31 and infection rates have more than doubled. Eight of Bali's nine regencies are now classified as high-risk "red zones".

The lack of testing for coronavirus makes it impossible to know the true rate of infection, according to local epidemiologist Dr I Gusti Ngurah Kade Mahardika.

"The number of daily tests is very low," he said.

"My data show there are only 600 to 700 people tested each day, so we can never know what the real situation is."

Up to 4,000 tourists have arrived in Bali every day since July 31, which has fuelled the spread of the virus, according to Dr Mahardika.

"Bali's reopening has caused a public euphoria for local residents. They think Bali is open now so they're free to do anything and they flock to tourist destinations," he said.

Bali is back to being crowded
Beaches, restaurants and other popular areas have been crammed with people, both locals and tourists.

Visitors to the island are required to produce a health certificate on arrival proving they are not currently positive for SARS-CoV-2.

But the low-cost rapid antibody test kits that are being used to screen domestic visitors can be inaccurate, allowing people with the virus to slip through.

"I've said this so many times already. A lockdown is needed," Dr Mahardika said.

All the indicators at the time showed the reopening of tourism in Bali should not have been allowed. But they did."

Most tourists arriving in Bali are from neighbouring Java, where coronavirus infection rates and deaths are Indonesia's highest.

The number of cases in the national capital Jakarta, in western Java, is now skyrocketing and hospitals and cemeteries are running out of space.

Jakarta residents were ordered into a new lockdown earlier this month, but not before many people flew out for a holiday in Bali.

Bali's tourism industry fears what happens next
Bali's provincial government has considered multiple measures to bring the rapidly rising death rate down and curb the flow of infections.

It has pledged to increase the island's limited hospital capacity and has announced new measures to restrict crowd numbers at tourist sites, religious ceremonies and public facilities such as markets.

It has also moved to limit the number of people working in offices to 25 per cent.

So far, it is not planning to shut tourism altogether.

Many small business owners fear the influx of coronavirus, but also depend on the tourism industry for income.

"I am scared of COVID-19, but if I don't work, how can we eat if we stay home all the time without receiving aid?" asked Dewi Suryanti, who sells corn on the cob from a street stall at Sanur.
Restaurants and hotels in Bali, especially in tourist areas, must adhere to strict protocols to try to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Staff must wear masks and take temperature checks of all guests before they enter.

Most restaurant
s restrict numbers to 50 per cent of their capacity.

But many venues have closed down since the pandemic hit Bali early this year, and some are still struggling to reopen.

"If the government decides to close our source of income again from domestic tourism, how will we survive?" said restaurant manager Ni Ketut Sasya Jolya Monic. ... g/12700730


New Zealand's weirdest election: Covid dominates battle between Ardern and Collins
When “Jacindamania” swept the country three years ago, town halls, pubs and stadiums were crowded with supporters wherever Jacinda Ardern went. The charismatic but relatively unknown young Labour leader electrified the campaign, and the populace.

Young women daubed their faces with red paint and election fever gripped voters in a way never before seen in New Zealand, which usually prefers a more sedate style of politics.

Fast forward to 2020 and any signs of mania have been stifled by preoccupations with coronavirus, and the country’s weirdest general election is underway.

The once animated and high-voltage race has been replaced by a strained atmosphere, with candidates in face masks awkwardly elbow-bumping locals and practising social-distancing from the general public they are attempting to win over.

Leader debates are taking place without a live studio audience, and carry a muted air. More than one political party has made policy announcements in muddy paddocks – setting the decidedly underwhelming tone.

“It is a really, really strange election, very odd,” says Dr Jennifer Lees-Marshment, an expert in elections and political communication from Auckland University.

“When you have an election in the midst of a global crisis, it’s very hard for the public and politicians to care about anything else.”

Amid a horror year Kiwis – including politicians – appear to have no appetite or energy for the usual hullaballoo of a general election.

“If it feels hard – that’s because it has been,” Ardern told New Zealanders in August, as a new Covid-19 cluster spread. “2020 has frankly been terrible.”

From ‘transformative change’ to a year of emergency
When Ardern took over the Labour party seven weeks out from 2017’s general election, she won the hearts and minds of voters with her promises of transformative, systemic change. Climate change mitigation, ending child poverty and tackling the housing crisis became her defining promises, and the language she deployed was aspirational, built around words such as “hope” and “kindness”.

But nearing the end of her three-year term, the sparkle has gone, and her promises are firmly grounded in dealing with the unappealing quagmire of the present; job losses, rising levels of poverty and hardship, and a sputtering economy.

Her performance in the first leaders’ debate drew widespread criticism from political commentators, who accused her of being “waffly”, “passionless” and deploying academic jargon.

She is also doing far less media than in 2017, preferring instead to control the narrative via her own social media channels, where she shares photographs of what she had for breakfast and smiling images of her working the phones.

“When people ask, is this a Covid election, my answer is yes, it is,” Ardern said when she opened her campaign in August.

“It has been our new reality and one that the team of 5 million have made work in the most extraordinary way”.

This new reality has translated into strong poll numbers for Ardern – but she says she isn’t taking anything for granted. The result is a stilted campaign.

“I think everyone is treading on eggshells a bit,” notes Lees-Marshment.

“Jacinda Ardern is an incredibly effective prime minister, she has extremely high levels of competence and is widely respected, both nationally and internationally. But she’s lacking energy, she’s lacking passion and she isn’t speaking in people terms- even though that is her phenomenal skill.”

“She is governing and campaigning in the midst of a global crisis, and that is very unusual.”

New Zealand has had fewer than 2,000 Covid-19 infections and only 25 deaths. In August, after 100 days without new domestic infections, the disease re-emerged, requiring the country’s largest city to re-enter lockdown. Despite the hiccup, the nation seems to be back on the path to controlling the virus and a lot of its success has been credited to Ardern.

In a poll in May Ardern’s popularity reached record highs, making her the most popular New Zealand PM in a century.

“I think the election will come down to trust, and that of course favours the incumbent prime minister,” said Carl Ebbers, a small businessman in Auckland. “She’s done so well with … all these emergencies we’ve had.”

‘New Zealanders just want it over’
But it hasn’t always been plain sailing. Commentators say it appears the past two years of New Zealand politics have been forgotten, and the only thing that counts with voters are the past nine months.

In reality, the Labour party stumbled frequently during its first term, and many of their flagship policies have been put on ice due to opposition from Winston Peter’s New Zealand First party, with whom they are in coalition.

Ardern’s critics say she has repeatedly failed to deliver on her sweeping 2017 promises, and that her ambitious climate change pledges will cripple New Zealand’s agriculture based economy.

But major mistakes such as the KiwiBuild fiasco, the failure to implement a capital gains tax, and rising levels of social deprivation, appear to have slipped from the public consciousness. When they are brought up by the National party their criticisms appear to have had little effect.

For the opposition, gearing up for the campaign has been difficult, with party veteran Judith Collins only recently becoming the third leader of the party this year.

National is polling 17 percentage points behind Labour (48 to 31), and in the preferred prime minister rankings, Ardern has been consistent at 54% since June, while Collins – not even party leader then – has dropped to 18%, a fall of 2%.

While narrowly deemed the winner of Tuesday’s debate, Collins hasbeen described as “going through the motions” by local reporters travelling with her on the road. An experienced, clever and witty political performer, she is yet to generate momentum that her campaign needs.

Collins - playing to her strengths as the daughter of dairy farmers - has spent asignificant amount of time in rural areas, promising to champion the rights of farmers.

At the last debate, Ardern informed Collins that her views on farming “feels like the view of the world that has passed,”. The off-hand comment played badlywith supporters and detractors alike, and it is with the agriculture sector that Labour - and Ardern personally - poll most poorly.

Yet for many political observers, the question is no longer whether Labour and Ardern will win on 17 October, but if they are able to win an outright majority, allowing them to govern alone, something the design of the nation’s MMP electoral system was meant to prevent.

“It’s a really unusual election, the background to it is just bizarre,” says political commentator Morgan Godfery.

“I can’t wait until it’s over. I am not necessarily a pro Labour person per se, but I just want them back for the simple reason that they are best placed to run the country during a global pandemic. And I think most New Zealanders feel the same way about the election – they just want it over, and they just want Jacinda Ardern and her government back.”

Although New Zealand has so far escaped the worst of the virus, it has nonetheless been a year from hell.

Tens of thousands of people have lost their jobs, and the country is officially in a recession. Families and partners are separated by closed borders, farmers can’t find workers to pick their crops, and the future is precarious for many.

“I don’t think that your average voter who has gone over from National to Labour is thinking about the science [of Covid-19],” said Ben Thomas, a public relations consultant and former National government staffer. “They think that Jacinda is making good decisions and looking after us.”

New Zealand’s Covid-19 success has become intermingled with Ardern’s leadership, he said. In voters’ minds: “If she makes an unpopular decision it’s because it was dictated by the science, and if she makes a popular one, it’s that she made a good call.”

Godfery agrees, saying Ardern’s competent handling of the virus means she now garners broad trust and respect across the board: “an enviable place for any politician to be in.”

“Jacinda Ardern is playing it straight down the middle and is not taking any risks – simply because she doesn’t need to.” ... d=msedgdhp

The 9 biggest coronavirus myths debunked
1.Masks don't work
They do. There have been studies from around the world that the (coronavirus) droplets spread through the air. Surgical face masks reduce the chance of infection.

Even a face covering can be 80% as effective as a face mask. If someone is infected - they are the source - wearing a mask has stopped that person spewing out droplets.

2.Cases going up but deaths aren't so the virus is getting weaker
There is no evidence of this. It is (as strong). In the early stages in March we were only testing hospitalised cases. Clearly that does not reflect everyone in the community.

The fact we're testing more now, it looks as if the proportion will get up. It can get up to May death levels.

In terms of the number of deaths, how bad can it get? Scientists believe to reach herd immunity, you would need to infect half the population.

That's 35 million people in the UK infected in the next year. If 1% died that is 350,000 people. That is huge and scary and big.

You can't revive the dead, but you can revive the economy.

3.Coronavirus is no worse than the flu
In terms of fatal infection proportions, Covid-19 is 1%. That is ten times worse than flu.

It is also almost double the infectivity of flu. I wouldn't be taking my chances with it.

We are getting more and more reports of longer consequences.

We don't know the full extent of this virus yet. There are a lot of longer term factors that are starting to be recongised.

There's a national study looking at long term survivors, but it's a bit soon to say what the full effect will be.
4.The nature of Covid-19 means we'll never get a vaccine
I am very hopeful we will get a vaccine. Unlike the flu virus that mutates quite a lot, this virus isn't mutating that quickly.

We have several vaccines in advanced stages.

I think by the end of the year we will have one that works. Even a partially effective vaccine will reduce death rates and infections.

5.Any future vaccine will actually make people sick
We are quite stringent in how we produce vaccines in the UK. They have to get through rigorous trials of safety. Oxford and Imperial have cleared the safety trial.

People should be clear that any and every vaccine will have side effects, but that is not the same as a bad effect.

If I injected water into your arm it would ache, but that's just a side effect. I am quite hopeful and reassured by the UK standards.

6.We already have herd immunity (in many of the hardest hit cities and nations ) so another lockdown would be pointless
We do not have herd immunity. (NOT EVEN IN SWEDEN , NYC or any place in USA , FRANCE , ITALY , UK , SPAIN , BRAZIL ,etc )

One of the things we have been doing nationally is population samples. Population immunity at the moment is around 8% (maybe in UK & USA)

London is a bit higher at around 15%. That means 92% of the country are still susceptible.

The indicators to look are POSITIVITY & HOSPITALIZATION.

7.Cases are only going up because we're testing more
There is a tiny element of truth in the more you test, the more you find.

But we don't just look at one indicator. The number of hospitalisations is going up.

Samples have higher levels of virus genetic material in them.

8.The young have nothing to worry about from the coronavirus
It is fair to say the risks are very low in the very young.

The risk increases as we start to age.

Even for a young person the risk is not zero however.

If you infect enough young people some will die, some will have bad side effects.

You are taking a risk on behalf of the community. Sooner or later you will come into contact with the elderly or people with health conditions.

9.Coronavirus is caused by 5G
There is no link whatsoever. ... d=msedgdhp

What Australia needs to do to avoid a third Covid wave
As Victoria reaches the end of its second wave of the coronavirus, the focus is now on ensuring a third wave doesn’t hit as Australia heads into summer.

Guardian Australia spoke to leading epidemiologists about the lessons learned from other countries, particularly in Europe, that are experiencing a resurgence in cases.

What does Australia need to do to avoid a third wave?

Don’t open up too early
Israel was praised for its swift response to the first wave of the pandemic. But when it eased restrictions in May, the virus began to spread again.

“They eased restrictions very quickly and then they had a couple of big outbreaks in schools, high schools, one in Jerusalem and one in Tel Aviv, and then it spread like crazy,” says Prof Michael Tool, an epidemiologist from Melbourne’s Burnet Institute.

That could happen in Melbourne if restrictions are lifted too early, says Prof Marylouise McLaws, an infectious disease specialist from the University of New South Wales and advisor to the World Health Organisation.

“We’re only at risk [of a third wave] if the authorities in Victoria are pressured into lifting restrictions,” McLaws says. “They are still at a critical phase.”

Melbourne has been under stage four restrictions for eight weeks, and was under stay-at-home orders for three weeks before that. Premier Daniel Andrews has indicated he may bring forward some planned easing of restrictions on Sunday, in response to the daily case numbers falling more rapidly than anticipated.

The city is currently averaging just over 25 cases per day, and restrictions will not be significantly eased until that average drops to five or fewer.

We do not want to become like Boris Johnson

Prof Marylouise McLaws

McLaws says that the tipping point to overwhelm contact tracing and risk exponential cases is 100 cases in total in a fortnight. New South Wales reached that point on 21 July and has taken two months to return to an average of below five local cases per day, she says.

Prof Catherine Bennett, the chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, says that Victorian authorities ought to be able to cope with eased restrictions under the current caseload, because most new cases are connected to outbreaks.

“These are the cases persisting despite lockdown because they are in essential workers, they are in aged care, healthcare, police,” she says. “More stage four forever is not going to get rid of them, there’s got to be other ways to shut them down.”

Don’t lock down too late
The United Kingdom and most European countries are a lesson in moving too late.

Bars and restaurants will be closed in Paris from this weekend, after the city recorded a record 16,096 cases in one day. That’s too late to bring it under control, says McLaws.

Related: Covid map Australia: tracking new cases, coronavirus stats and live data by state

“It’s interesting and instructive to compare us to Europe.

“It’s a lesson in what not to do … They have been pushed by economics rather than by health, where our leaders have been pushed by health protection first and foremost.”

Europe does not have the advantage of geographic isolation that Australia has, so the ability to get numbers to a very low level is limited. Still, McLaws says the UK’s decision to institute a traffic light system for overseas travel was “a fairly management-light perspective”. And the lack of testing in the UK, she adds, meant they did not have the data to catch outbreaks early.

“We do not want to become like Boris Johnson and throw our hands up and go, ‘well we might think about putting in a couple of hours curfew in the local pubs’,” she says. “We don’t want to become inert or quite frankly lazy in our approach to trying to look after our local residents.”

Make it a habit to wear a face mask
The best lesson for Australians to adopt from overseas is the habitual wearing of face masks. That may be one of the reasons that South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and mainland China have been able to keep the virus under greater control than western nations, says McLaws.

Everyone in Australia should get used to wearing a face mask in the supermarket and on public transport until there is widespread vaccination, which McLaws says won’t be before the end of 2021. That should be the case even if the nation’s daily case numbers remain in single digits, she says, because of the unknown impact of asymptomatic spread.

“It also sends a really good visual reminder that we’re still in Covid,” she says. “Because without that reminder at a shopping mall, people don’t keep their distance because they keep forgetting that we’re still in a pandemic.”

Test, trace and isolate

Burnet’s Michael Tool says face masks should remain mandatory in Victoria until case numbers are effectively at zero, but requiring people in Perth and Darwin to wear them is “not practical”.

Bennett says a focus on prevention – face masks in enclosed public spaces, rigorous hand hygiene, remaining 1.5m apart in public – is the key to living with the coronavirus over the medium term.

Decentralised, ‘aggressive’ contact tracing
South Korea has ridden out the second wave better than any other democratic nation, says Tool. “They don’t go for big lockdowns,” he says. “They close bars, clubs, close churches again, but they have a really aggressive test and trace system and that’s been the key to the success.”

The South Korean contact tracing system is decentralised and works on mobilising local health units. New South Wales, which has the best contact tracing system in Australia, is the same.

Victoria moved to that model this month, after the system was overwhelmed in the second wave. Tool says the success of that change can be seen in the management of the Casey cluster. All three experts say they believe Victoria’s updated contact tracing system should be able to contain any new outbreaks.

“I think decentralised contact tracing is an important lesson,” Tool says. “Test and trace and isolate is the core tool we have to control this pandemic.”

McLaws says that as Australia’s domestic borders open up, there will also be a need for a national system, or greater participation between jurisdictions, to ensure contacts can be rapidly traced across borders.

Bennett says contact tracing must “go beyond that first ring of contacts” and “ask everyone to stay home, be monitored, get tested”. “If we can do that with only the sporadic cases we now have, then we’re in a much better position to never ever see the kind of expansion of cases that we’re seeing in Europe now,” she says.

Enforce rules, but make them evidence-based
Australians are used to strict public safety rules and have accepted both restrictions and hefty fines with less complaint than other nations. Tool says that voluntary rules don’t always work in public health, so a level of enforcement is necessary.

“We know that, from seatbelts and bicycle helmets and not smoking in restaurants, you do need a level of enforcement,” he says.

Without continued enforcement you could see what happened in Europe occur in Australia, especially as it heads into summer.

“When they did ease restrictions, people did go crazy and they didn’t obey the baseline social distancing measures,” Tool says. “They went to bars, went to beaches, went to clubs, and France recorded 13,000 cases in one day the other day.” (France had a record 16,096 cases on Thursday.)

Bennett warns that if those rules are not evidence-based, public support could wane. She also criticises the increasingly polarised political climate in Victoria, which has made nuanced debate of the evidence difficult.

The next big public health task should be analysing all of the more than 26,000 positive cases recorded to date in Australia to identify which specific measures, of the many restrictions imposed in lockdown, have had the greatest impact.

“We need to make sure everyone does trust our health systems and that our health systems are trustworthy,” she says. “With that, we must start to really unpack and evaluate exactly what has happened so that, should we have to face anything like this again, there’s less guesswork, less politics, and a lot more evidence.” ... d=msedgdhp

Mental Health Chief: There Is ‘No Doubt’ People Will Suffer Coronavirus ‘PTSD’
Seven months ago, as most Americans began self-isolating to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many wondered: what will this do to our mental health?

Experts warned of psychological fallout; reports told of an increase in anxiety and depressive disorders. Social distancing restrictions have eased since then, or evaporated altogether. But the pandemic still rages, protesters take to the street most every night in major cities, and Americans’ fears about the integrity of the impending election continue to swell. We feel unsafe, adrift, and burned out. People want to know: will we be OK?

Surely Dr. Joshua A. Gordon, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), has an answer. Dr. Gordon leads the largest federal agency for research on mental disorders and has been scrutinizing emerging data about the pandemic’s effects on Americans’ psychological well-being.

Though he’s a researcher and not a clinician, Dr. Gordon has the measured affability of a therapist. He speaks slowly in long, thoughtful sentences. He even hand-sewed his own face masks with fabric blazed with the pattern of a brain.

But when The Daily Beast asked him the simple question—did COVID launch America into a mental health crisis? —Dr. Gordon paused. “That’s a really tough question to answer, even six months in,” he said. He cannot give a direct “yes or no,” but he can say, “maybe or maybe not.”

“A lot of well-done surveys indicate that the rates of people who are endorsing symptoms of mental illness have gone up,” Dr. Gordon added. “We’re seeing [rates] go up anywhere from two to four times where they are from baseline, depending on the age group. We’re seeing people note high rates of symptoms of depression, anxiety, grief, and even high rates of suicidal thoughts in some subgroups. It’s particularly disturbing to see in young people.”

According to a study by the CDC, 40 percent of adults in this country reported they struggled with mental health or substance abuse. Ten percent of those surveyed said their symptoms were due to stress caused by the pandemic. Anxiety symptoms were up around three times than those reported in the second quarter of 2019; occurrences of depressive disorder jumped four times since the same period.

Dr. Gordon said, “I have no doubt that there are some people who have a diagnosable mental illness—depression, anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder—as a result of COVID. That happens after any emergency. “The question is how many people [will have lasting mental health effects], and is it going to be dramatically higher than similar events since COVID has lasted longer? It’s frustrating that we don’t know the impact six months in.” (Healthcare workers with frontline experienceare most at risk for PTSD, said Dr. Gordon.)

As Dr. Ronald W. Pies wrote last month in Psychiatric Times, people might be experiencing symptoms of mental illness, but most of them have yet to be diagnosed with anything. It is premature to make any call about how widespread these problems are—unfortunately, all we can do now is wait and see.

When the pandemic began, one of Donald Trump’s motivations for rushing the reopening of states was the threat of what he called “suicide by thousands.” As he put it on Fox News back in April: “You’re going to lose more people by putting a country into a massive recession or depression.”

Dr. Gordon said that there is no way to measure the rate of suicide in America for 2020; it usually takes one or two years to compile that statistic. “I can’t tell you if deaths [by suicide] are increasing during COVID,” he said.

“But we know, depending on what statistic you read, that there are now 200,000 Americans who have died of COVID in the last seven months,” Dr. Gordon went on. “With no increase due to COVID, we lose 48,000 people a year to suicide. The most extreme estimates guess that we’ll see a rate of suicide increase by 10 percent in the United States. In my mind, that’s unlikely, but I don’t know.

“So, I just told you that 48,000 people die of suicide a year. Ten percent of that is another 4,800 lives. Now, 4,800 more lives lost to suicide is tragic, and we should do everything to make sure that doesn’t happen. But 4,800 lives compared to the 200,000 dead compared to COVID—the math doesn’t work to argue that we should reopen to prevent suicides.”

Dr. Gordon would not comment on whether or not he thinks Trump helps or hurts the mental health of America. (He did say that the administration has been “very supportive” of his department’s study on the pandemic’s psychological impact.)

But he did say that some of the most “challenging” moments of the pandemic have been witnessing the public’s disregard for social distancing and mask-wearing mandates.

“I think it’s concerning when you read about the degree to which our science might be misinterpreted by particular political movements,” Dr. Gordon said. “I don’t want to overstep the boundaries of my position, but it’s very frustrating that people think masking and other public health measures are somehow a political question or express something about one’s beliefs or freedoms.”

He also worries for those who are in care-taking positions at home watching over elderly or at-risk relatives. “When you look specifically at that demographic, their rates of anxiety and depressed mood increase as the length of time goes on,” he said, referring to a CDC sample study. “That was for people caring for adults. One can imagine that parents of children might be impacted in the same way.”

This summer, after staying home for two weeks and receiving a negative COVID test, Dr. Gordon and his wife went on their annual trip upstate with two other couples. They rented an Airbnb and got takeout instead of going out for dinner. When they arrived at the home, they took deep breaths before exchanging hugs for the first time since February.

“It was like, ‘Are we really going to do this?’ It was awkward. But within that 48-hour weekend, it became normal very quickly. For the vast majority of people, that’s going to be the case.” ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sat Sep 26, 2020 9:48 am








CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Sep 27, 2020 4:56 am

27 SEPT VIC ( 88th day under lockdown )

Victoria records 16 new coronavirus cases and 2 deaths as Melbourne 14-day average falls
Victoria has recorded 16 new coronavirus cases and two further deaths overnight, as Melburnians prepare for the next step of restrictions being eased in the city.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day daily case average dropped again overnight, from 23.6 yesterday to 22.1 today.
Regional Victoria's rolling average is now 0.6, a slight drop from 0.8 yesterday.

There are now 399 active coronavirus infections in the state — the first time there has been fewer than 400 active cases since June 30.

Two men in their 70s died with coronavirus overnight. One of those deaths was linked to aged care.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a range of changes to coronavirus restrictions in Melbourne, including scrapping the city's curfew and the limit on how many people from a single household can go shopping at once.

All primary school children will be allowed to return to the classroom from October 12.

The criteria for Melbourne's second step was recording a 14-day average between 30 and 50 before September 28.

From tomorrow, people from a maximum of two households will be allowed to gather in groups of up to five, and outdoor exercise with a personal trainer will be permitted.

The Premier also said about 127,000 workers would be able to return to various industries.

In addition, Mr Andrews announced the third step of Melbourne's roadmap of restrictions, which had had been scheduled for October 26, would be able to proceed on October 19.

"We cannot take that step any earlier because, as Victorians have become only too well aware, decisions made today, the impact in terms of the spread of the virus will not be known to us for at least two to three weeks," he said.

The criteria for the third step is a statewide 14-day daily case average below five, and fewer than five "mystery" cases over a two-week period.

More than 150 coronavirus fines issued overnight
A man who said he was not carrying a mask "because it was too heavy", and a woman who was reported to police for visiting western Victorian city Horsham every two weeks, are among those who were fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions overnight.

Victoria Police issued 152 fines overnight, including 55 for breaching Melbourne's curfew and 17 for failing to wear a face covering.

It comes as Melbournians eagerly await news from Premier Daniel Andrews on the further easing of restrictions after he acknowledged that the state "ahead of schedule" in terms of controlling the virus.

"I do hope to be able to talk a little bit more about how I think October will unfold and maybe give people some clarity around, because we are ahead of schedule, what might be possible," Mr Andrew's told yesterday's press conference.

"That means many things become possible and potentially earlier than we had thought." ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne curfew is lifted
Melbourne's 9pm curfew will finally be lifted tomorrow night after the state recorded just 16 new cases and far fewer in past weeks than expected.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced major changes to the roadmap out of lockdown at his daily press conference on Sunday.

How fast the state reopens will be determined by how many cases there are, instead of dates set ahead of time - as progress is faster than expected.

'It means that getting back to the things we love - seeing more of the people we love - not only is achievable, it's in our hands,' Mr Andrews said.

However, Mr Andrews also enormously increased the fine for breaking coronavirus gathering limits to $5,000 - well up from $1,600.

Rules on face masks are also more restrictive with scarves, bandannas and similar banned and face shields must also be worn in conjunction with a mask.

Melbourne will on Monday move to its second phase of reopening, scrapping the curfew from 5am on Monday and loosening other restrictions.

Up to five people from two households can gather for group exercise, but are still forbidden from visiting each other's homes.

'I know people want to go and visit friends, I know people want that fundamental connection with friends and family, I get that, I understand that,' Mr Andrews said.

What changes in Melbourne on Monday?
Curfew is gone from 5am on Monday

New massive $5,000 fine comes in for breaching gathering limits

Five people can exercise together 5km from home, but not visit each other

Solo hospital and nursing home visits allowed for two hours a day

Primary schools reopen on October 12, as do universities for final year students

Childcare reopens on Monday

Workers can exercise near workplaces, not just their homes

Outdoor pools reopen, fishing and hiking allowed (still 5km from home) but golf, tennis, etc still banned

Sole trader gardening and pet grooming allowed to operate

Elective surgery slowly returns to 75 per cent capacity

Meat processing plants back to 80 per cent capacity, factories to 90 per cent

Weddings allowed with five people, same limit for religious services held outside

'But I also understand, what I am completely clear about, the evidence is irrefutable

'The home environment is one of the most risky environments. It is how people let their guard down, and there is a degree of informality.

'There is no distancing, there is not the cleaning at that kind of industrial level, that is when this virus gets away from you and one big family or small family visiting another and another and another does nothing but potentially spread this virus.'

However, people can visit sick or elderly family and friends in hospital or nursing homes one at a time for two hours a day.

Personal training can resume with a maximum of two people and their trainer.

Weddings can have up to five people and religious worship can happen outside with five people plus a person leading the service.

Private home inspections can resume, and primary school students will go back to school on October 12 - as will apprentices and final year university students for needed in-person training and assessments.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Professor Allen Cheng said Melbourne University and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute suggested primary school children were at a 'lower risk of getting and spreading infection'

'This is not to say that they can't get infected or they never get unwell but their risk is lower and it is particularly important when community rates of infection are low, as they are at the moment,' he said.

'This new modelling suggests relatively safe to return students to primary schools in the first weeks of term 4.'

Childcare centres and early child education will reopen, allowing essential workers to get back to work and those working from home some peace and quiet.

Jim's Mowing boss Jim Penman may call off his frequent attacks on Mr Andrews as gardening and landscaping for sole traders can resume.

Pet grooming will also restart, a welcome relief for anyone whose furry friend's coat is in desperate need of maintenance.

Those lucky enough to have a hiking trail or body of water within 5km of their home can go fishing or hiking for their exercise.

Outdoor pools will open, with strict distancing requirements, but sport like tennis and golf is still banned.

Essential workers can also exercise near work instead of home, but must carry their working permit on them.

Elective surgery will slowly ramp up to 75 per cent of normal capacity after being shut down for non-urgent cases when lockdown began.

Abattoirs, seafood and meat processing plants which had their production slashed to a third can now ramp back up again to 80 per cent.

'With spring lamb, carving and other seasonal factors, not to mention that Christmas is coming… we are pleased to be able to lift those percentages of workers,' Mr Andrews said.

Factories can also go back to 90 per cent of their pre-lockdown capacity. These are all subject to complying with coronavirus safe plans.

Overall, about 127,000 staff across Melbourne will be able to go back to work on Monday.

'There'll be additional obligations for employers, including regular surveillance testing of staff, nightly deep cleaning, separating workers into consistent bubbles, and providing regular training for their workers,' Mr Andrews said.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said his public health team made the recommendation to scrap the curfew.

He said it was no longer a 'proportionate measure to have in place'.

'We always said that aged care cases would be a stubborn tale of this epidemic curve,' he said.

'That remains the case but it does mean that not an insignificant proportion of our daily cases are in aged care and the curfew doesn't address that transmission risk, obviously.

'Over the course of the last couple of weeks, we have talked about 21 mystery cases but really we are getting to one to three community cases per day.'

Under the original plans to take effect from Monday, the 9pm curfew would remain, as well as the 5km travel limit and takeaway-only for restaurants and cafes.

The Victorian opposition had calling for rules to be loosened well beyond this, saying the curfew should go, all school students should return and restaurants, retail and offices should re-open.

October 19 is the next date that restrictions are likely to be further relaxed if case numbers continue to fall - a week earlier than planned.

This would finally end the lockdown and allow Melburnians to leave their homes for any reason, and outdoor dining and gatherings allowed for 10 people.

The next round of rules lets up to five people from one other household visit another household at a time.

Families would therefore be able to have gatherings, but it wouldn't be much help for those lonely at home without their friends.

Mr Andrews' roadmap won't allow friends to visit each other, pubs and restaurants to open inside, and retail, gyms, and places of worship to reopen until there are 14 days of zero cases in a row.

Under this widely-condemned benchmark, NSW would still be heavily restricted but it has instead utilised contact tracing to keep cases to a trickle.

Victoria also suffered another two deaths in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, taking its total to 784.

The number of new cases and deaths is up from Saturday's total of 14 cases and one death.

The two-week rolling daily case average of 23.6 is well under the 30-50 case average health authorities were aiming for.

For the first time in months, there are no active cases in regional Victoria, which had its lockdown lifted a few weeks ago.

It has been a dramatic few days in Victorian politics culminating in the resignation of Jenny Mikakos as health minister on Saturday morning.

By the afternoon, Daniel Andrews had announced mental health minister Martin Foley as her replacement and he was sworn in.

Ms Mikakos' resignation came a day after she heard her boss tell the hotel quarantine inquiry board she was responsible for the Department of Health and Human Services, which was ultimately responsible for running the quarantine scheme.

The hotel quarantine program in Victoria failed because private security guards breached infection control, causing the spread of the virus into the community and a devastating second wave.

To date, 784 Victorians have died of the virus and the entire state has been subject to strict lockdowns, workforce and school closures and prolonged social isolation.

'I have never wanted to leave a job unfinished but in light of the premier's statement... and the fact there are elements in it that I strongly disagree with... I cannot continue to serve in his cabinet,' Ms Mikakos wrote.

'I am disappointed that my integrity has sought to be undermined. I am deeply sorry for the situation that Victorians find themselves in.

'In good conscience, I do not believe that my action led to them.'

Ms Mikakos will also be resigning from the Victorian parliament.

Mr Andrews on Sunday said he had not spoken with his former health minister since she sent him her resignation text message.

'I'm sorry for her and I am saddened by this, I wish her well. She's made a decision and it was the only decision she could make once she determined she could no longer sit in the cabinet,' he said.

The premier, like all leaders who came before the $3 million inquiry, told the board on Friday he did not know who made the decision to use private security guards.

He pushed back on suggestions from reporters on Saturday that he should also resign, saying he would not run from a challenge and remained focused on fighting the pandemic and repairing the state's economy.. ... d=msedgdhp

Curfew lifted, students to return to primary schools as Victorian COVID-19 restrictions ease
Melbourne's curfew will be scrapped and all primary school students will return to the classroom from October 12 as part of Victoria's second step out of coronavirus lockdown.

In a significant revision of the roadmap out of restrictions, Premier Daniel Andrews said he expected Melbourne to take the third step on October 19, a week earlier than originally scheduled.

"This is a strategy that is designed to get us to a COVID-normal Christmas," Mr Andrews said.

"We are well on track. In fact, we are ahead of time when it comes to achieving that outcome."

Students in specialist schools and prep to grade 6 will return to onsite learning from the week of October 12.

Those doing VCE and VCAL subjects will return for assessments from October 5, then for classes from October 12.

Childcare centres will be open to all children, and the 5-kilometre limit will not apply.

One childminder will be allowed for in-home childcare.

The citywide curfew, which has been in place in some form for eight weeks, will be lifted from 5:00am on Monday.

Face coverings will remain mandatory, but the rules have been tightened to clarify that it must be a "fitted face mask that covers [the] nose and mouth".

Face shields, which until now have been permitted as a face covering, will not be allowed. There will be a grace period before the rule is enforced.

Regional Victoria is already living under the third step of the roadmap, allowing people to travel and hospitality businesses to reopen.


Up to five people allowed to gather outside, $5,000 fine for unlawful gatherings
A ban on religious gatherings has been lifted, but ceremonies will be capped at five people plus one faith leader, and they must take place outdoors.

Weddings are again allowed, with up to five attendees including the couple and two witnesses, in an outdoor venue. The rules for funerals remain unchanged — up to 10 mourners are allowed, plus the people required to conduct the service.

The two-hour limit on exercise remains in place, but Melburnians can now exercise within a 5km radius of their workplace, rather than just within a 5km radius of their home.

"Limiting movement limits the spread of this virus," Mr Andrews said.

As previously announced, outdoor public gatherings are now allowed with all members of a household or up to five people from two households.

Mr Andrews announced a fine of nearly $5,000 would be in place for any unlawful gatherings.

Both the Premier and Chief Health Officer said gatherings in homes remained a key concern for transmission of the virus.

Two people with a personal trainer are allowed to train outdoors for up to two hours at a time.

Outdoor pools are being opened with strict conditions. Hiking and fishing can resume, but it needs to be within 5km of the home and can only be for up to two hours.

[5km radius search tool]
The limit of one person per household per day being able to leave to shop for essential goods will be dropped from Monday.

"I would just say, go shopping for the things you need when you need them," Mr Andrews said.

Opposition says too many suffering 'unnecessarily' under restrictions
Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the Premier's announcement did not go far enough to reopen the state.

"Today Victorians were really looking for a path out of lockdown, and instead all they got from Daniel Andrews was a huge letdown," Mr O'Brien said.

Mr O'Brien said many of the continued restrictions made "no sense".

"There is no reason why it's safe for a grade 6 [student] to go to school, but not safe for grade 7 [student]. There's no reason why it's safe for a year 11 to go to school, but not safe for a year 10.

"Daniel Andrews' restrictions are really having a huge impact on real people's lives.

"We deserved a heck of a lot more than what we got today because there are too many kids, there are too many lives, there are too many jobs, there are too many businesses that are all suffering today, and unnecessarily so."


In a joint statement on behalf of the Federal Government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt said the Premier's announcement was a "small but further important step" to allow more Victorians to get back to work and resume their normal lives.

"As it stands, this lockdown is already longer than that faced by residents in many cities around the world," the statement said.

"We remain deeply concerned about the mental health impacts of a prolonged lock down on Melbourne residents.

"We note that at similar case levels NSW was fundamentally open while remaining Covidsafe due to a world class contact tracing facility."

Supermarkets, food distribution centres return to full capacity
Under the revised roadmap, residential real estate inspections will be allowed, with one agent and one prospective buyer or tenant allowed in a home.

Mr Andrews said 127,000 Victorians would be able to return to their jobs as restrictions on workplaces were eased under the second step of the roadmap.

Supermarkets and food distribution centres will return to full capacity, while abattoirs, and seafood and meat processing plants will able to increase their activity.

The manufacturing sector will be able to increase to up 90 per cent of its workforce. Sole traders doing outside gardening and landscaping will be allowed to resume their work.

As previously announced, pet grooming will be allowed to resume.

Large-scale construction sites will be allowed to operate with up to 85 per cent of their total workforces.

All businesses that have workers on site will be required to have a COVIDSafe plan in place. An exemption for workplaces with fewer than five workers on site will no longer apply.

The plans will include requirements such as regular surveillance and testing of staff, nightly deep cleaning, separating workers into consistent bubbles, and providing regular training for workers.

Premier says court case not the reason for scrapping curfew
Mr Andrews denied the decision to scrap Melbourne's curfew was related to a Mornington Peninsula cafe owner launching a legal challenge against it.

Michelle Loielo, who has flagged her intention to run for Liberal Party preselection at the next state election, has sought to have the curfew declared "unlawful and invalid".

The matter has been set down for a hearing before Supreme Court Justice Tim Ginnane tomorrow.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien accused the Premier of "complete cynicism".

"Daniel Andrews pretends that his decision's got nothing to do with the court case. Victorians are smarter than that," he said.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said given the low levels of community transmission now occurring in Melbourne, he did not believe the curfew was a "proportionate" measure to keep in place.

"The sporadic, the individual community cases that we are seeing are now very small in number," Professor Sutton said.

"We are getting to one, two, three community cases per day, and so in reflecting on the obligations of the Victorian Charter and the Public Health and Wellbeing Act and the issue of proportionality, it is my view and it was the public health team's view, that the curfew is not a proportionate measure to have in place going forward."

'Trigger point' changes from dates to numbers
To reach the second step, Melbourne needed to have a 14-day rolling average of between 30 and 50 new cases each day. But with case numbers falling, that number now sits at 22.1.

Under the third step, which looks set to take place from October 19 rather than October 26, there would be no restrictions on leaving home.

Mr Andrews said modelling suggested the next target — a rolling 14-day average of fewer than five new cases and fewer than five "mystery" cases over a fortnight — would be met between October 12 and October 17.

"That is a credit to every single Victorian who is staying the course, working hard, making sacrifices," Mr Andrews said.

"We have to get this done, we have to complete this task."

Mr Andrews said the final steps of the roadmap would no longer be defined by dates.

Instead, Mr Andrews said, the "trigger point" for the public health team to review restrictions would be based on meeting case-number targets.

However, there will have to be at least three weeks in between each step in Melbourne, to give public health officials time to see the impact of the new rules.

"That means the sooner we hit those targets, the sooner we can consider our next steps," Mr Andrews said.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said there was "a lot of uncertainty" about when the next targets would be met, but Melbourne was tracking towards "mid-to-late October".

"One large event, one super spreader and it could be pushed back," Professor Cheng said.

"If everything goes well and we get on top, it could be around that."

Read a summary of what's changing: ... d=msedgdhp

Melburnians enjoy weekend as curfew is lifted
Melburnians have basked in the city's sunny BUT CHILLY weekend weather as Premier Daniel Andrews announced he will finally lift the city's 9pm curfew on Monday.
From 5am on Monday, Melbourne's nearly five million residents can go out at night again as daily case totals in Victoria continue to fall, although fines for breaking COVID-19 gathering limits will rise to $5,000 from $1,600.

Masked joggers and sporting enthusiasts eager to kick the footy took to Carlton's Princes Park to enjoy their two hours of permitted exercise - a rule that will remain in place despite Melbourne's accelerated restriction easing.

Melbourne residents have hit out at Mr Andrews' new rule specifying they can exercise together 5km from their homes, but not visit each other's houses.

Outdoor pools will reopen and fishing and hiking are permitted - still within 5km of the home - but sports like golf and tennis will still be banned.

The draconian rules will remain in place despite Victoria - Australia's worst-hit state in terms of coronavirus transmission - recording 16 new cases and two deaths on Sunday.

Schools and universities will see limited re-openings under the new restrictions - with primary school students going back to school on October 12, as well as apprentices and final year university students for needed in-person training and assessments.

Residents taking to the warm Melbourne Spring sunshine on Sunday were pictured wearing masks as Mr Andrews warned face shields could no longer be used instead of a mask.

Scarves, bandannas and similar materials are also banned.

'You can wear one if you want, in terms of your eyes, but it would need to be accompanied by a mask... anything is better than nothing, but a shield is akin to not wearing a face covering,' Mr Andrews said. ... d=msedgdhp

What coronavirus modelling released by the Victorian Government says about schools and Melbourne's roadmap
The Victorian Government has announced slightly more restrictions will ease from September 28 as part of a revised roadmap out of Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown.

They include changes to restrictions on schools, exercise, childcare and gatherings.

And it's now looking likely the third step of restrictions, which will see the most significant lifting of restrictions so far, will happen a week earlier than expected.

Premier Daniel Andrews said modelling suggested the next target would be met between October 12 and 17.

The roadmap announcement on September 13 used modelling from the universities of Melbourne and New England.

That modelling has now been updated, and the Government is using further research from the Burnet Institute and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute to help underscore its latest announcement.

Here are some of the key takeaways.

Melbourne appears to be ahead of schedule
Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said as well as internal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) modelling, officials were using the University of Melbourne modelling and a new model by the Burnet Institute.

"They both predict that we are on track and perhaps even slightly ahead of where we thought we would be," he said.

The original date for Melbourne's third step was October 26, provided there were fewer than five "mystery" cases in the previous fortnight and there was a 14-day average of five or fewer cases.

Professor Cheng and Mr Andrews said the models suggested the fortnightly case average was expected to fall below five at some time in October.

Mr Andrews said that would pave the way for restrictions to be eased on October 19.

"Each model has its strengths and weaknesses, but none of them can be extremely precise when case numbers are so low," the Government's report on the modelling said.

"One outbreak could spark many new cases, setting us back several days."

Professor Cheng said during the "tail" of the state's second wave, chance played a much larger role and could see the timeline pushed back.

"But equally, if anything goes well, and we get on top of everything, it would be around that middle of October mark," he said.

Modelling suggests 41pc chance of a third wave if all restrictions lifted now
The Burnet Institute modelling is a Victorian adaptation of the Covasim Epidemic model, which was developed by the Institute for Disease Modelling in the US.

The peer-reviewed model by Nick Scott, Romesh Abeysuriya and Margaret Hellard suggests if the state was to skip ahead to the final step on September 28, there would be a 41 per cent chance of a third wave within four weeks.

It suggested if restrictions were lifted to "NSW level" on September 14, the date the roadmap was announced, there would have been an 86 per cent chance of cases reaching more than 100 within four weeks.

The final step of the roadmap involves all workers returning to workplaces, the reopening of bars and clubs and greater social freedom.

"We're almost there," Professor Cheng said.

"We need people … with symptoms to be tested so we can find these last cases and act. We need to hang in a little longer to make it as safe as possible before the next step."

Primary school students 'at a lower risk'
One of the big changes to the roadmap is a return to school for all primary school students from the week beginning October 12.

Specialist school students of any age will return to face-to-face learning from the same date.

The Government has used research performed by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute as a basis for the change.

"They found that primary school children are at a lower risk of getting and spreading infection," Professor Cheng said.

"This isn't to say that they can't get infected or they never get unwell, but their risk is lower and it is particularly important when community rates of infection are lower, as they are at the moment."

Professor Cheng said there had been 139 staff and 373 students infected through school outbreaks.

As a result of the research, health officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have asked University of Melbourne researchers to change some of the inputs to the modelling underpinning the roadmap.

The previous model assumed 60 per cent of children under the age of 10 were asymptomatic.

That has now changed to the assumption that 90 per cent of children under the age of 10 don't have any symptoms.

"This change reduces their overall infectivity compared to adults from 77 per cent to 51 per cent," a Government report on the modelling said.

Further research is still being done on the risk to older kids
Students in their final year of high school will be heading back to the classroom for term four.

Those doing VCE and VCAL subjects, which is most year 11 and 12 students and some year 10s, will return for assessments from October 5, then for classes from October 12.

But for those between year 7 and the final years of schooling, it'll be remote learning for a bit longer.

"For secondary school students, we're not quite so sure about the risk and we're still doing further work on this," Professor Cheng said.

One of the state's biggest clusters was linked to the Al-Taqwa College in Melbourne's outer west.

"We still need to be careful. So schools will still need to be prepared, and parents and children will need to monitor their health carefully and not send students to school if unwell," Professor Cheng said.

The effective reproduction rate is NOW well below 1
The effective reproduction rate — the number of people infected, on average, by someone with COVID-19 — has fallen again in recent weeks.

Internal DHHS modelling showed the rate, also known as the Reff, stood at 0.69 last week.

That number is similar to the 0.75 modelled by the Doherty Institute.

"This really suggests that the case counts have been falling at a rate of about 25 to 30 per cent every five or six days," Professor Cheng said.

There's 'a bit of wriggle room' with the targets for the next step
The target impetus for moving to the third step of the roadmap remains having fewer than five "mystery" cases over a fortnight and a 14-day average below five, even if the date is brought forward.

After the first announcement, those targets were criticised by some, including one of the University of Melbourne modellers, as being too "stringent".

"I'm trying to really emphasise that it's not just that target," Professor Cheng said on Sunday.

"If it's six and there's a whole bunch of cases in hotel quarantine, or in an aged care facility, maybe we'll be able to say that's OK.

"So it's not solely that target, there's a bit of wriggle room once we get close to that. But it really is an assessment of the overall situation."

Mr Andrews said the "trigger point" for the public health team to review restrictions beyond the third step would be based on the state meeting case-number targets, rather than hitting calendar dates.

However, there will need to be at least three weeks between steps so health officials can see the impact of new restrictions.

"That means the sooner we hit those targets, the sooner we can consider our next steps," Mr Andrews said. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria's grey nomads reveal what it's like living through two lockdowns in a van
What do you do in a pandemic when you have no address and no home to go back to during lockdown?

That's the situation facing grey nomad Lisa Mora, whose home is a 1968 Viscount caravan named "Priscilla".

In a deserted caravan park in Melbourne's Yarra Ranges, Ms Mora is living through her second lockdown.

Classed as an "essential traveller" Ms Mora was allowed to stay at the park when the entire metro Melbourne area entered stage four restrictions in July.

It's a safe and beautiful place, Ms Mora says, to bunker down in her tiny, 4.5m long van.

Yet, like many grey nomads, Ms Mora has been left bewildered and frustrated by the past six months, which has seen life on the road become, at times, a hostile and unfriendly place.

Lisa Mora packed up her life to become a grey nomad in May last year.
Ms Mora is from Queensland but took up the grey nomad lifestyle last May, after her rheumatoid arthritis got so bad she had to stop working and go on the disability pension.

She was in Queensland when the pandemic broke out in March and the country went into lockdown.

"I was staying at the showgrounds in Warwick, west Queensland but then they closed down and we got turfed out," she said.

"It was chaos. There were caravans parked at rest areas on the side of the road. There were people going, 'What the hell do we do?'"

What Ms Mora really wanted to do was to visit her son, who lives in Brunswick in inner-city Melbourne.

But although the state borders were still open at that point, Ms Mora feared making the trip.

"There was nothing stopping me from driving down. Except that what I heard was, caravaners were getting their tyres slashed in some of these country towns," she said.

"If you had out-of-state licence plates and were cruising into town from anywhere else, the paranoia was so intense in those early days that you weren't welcome."

When the pandemic broke out, some grey nomads reported being driven out of country towns fearful they were spreading the virus.

Ms Mora waited until June 22, when it was announced that caravan parks in Victoria would be opening up to non-self contained vehicles like her caravan, which doesn't have a toilet or shower.

Ms Mora hit the road, but in the four days it took for her to reach Melbourne, the situation changed dramatically as a second wave of COVID-19 took hold of the city.

"I hadn't been checking the news obsessively like I had been at the beginning of the pandemic because it seemed like things were getting back to normal, so I had no inkling of what I was heading into," Ms Mora said.

"I was going down the Newell Highway and I thought why are all these caravans heading north all of sudden, there's a hell of a lot of them.

"I had the whole road south to myself. I never saw any other person heading south."

Having booked into the only caravan park in inner Melbourne at Coburg, Ms Mora arrived to find it deserted.

"I rolled in Coburg and I was the only caravan there," she said.

Growing increasingly worried about being locked down in the inner city, Ms Mora moved east to the Yarra Ranges, not realising the area was still included in the Melbourne metro region.

"A week later they announced that the whole of greater Melbourne was in lockdown. I looked it up on the map and went, 'Oh s**t, I'm locked down'.

'I'm now a complete outcast'

*Jenny is another grey nomad who got stuck in Victoria after travelling from Western Australia to Melbourne in March to sort out a family estate.

With the estate matters still ongoing, Jenny moved to Bendigo in regional Victoria in between the two lockdowns.

While travel in regional Victoria opened up last week making life easier for many grey nomads, Jenny said her situation had far from improved.

That's because the address on her driver's licence still says she lives in metro Melbourne.

When Jenny packed up her life four years ago to become a grey nomad, she rented out her Melbourne home, but it's still listed as her official address.

Many grey nomads are reported to have travelled north while they were able to cross state borders.

Jenny said she had struggled to get a straight answer from authorities about what to do in her situation.

"It's been a nightmare. Everyone has just said you can't move, you can't go anywhere. Well, hello, I don't have a home to go to. Nobody seems to understand or fathom that," she said.

Jenny said she was finally told when she rang the government's COVID advice line that she could access free campsites as it was considered emergency accommodation.

But she said she was still fearful of being pulled up by the police.

"If I get pulled over by the police they are going to do a rego check and see my address as being in metro Melbourne," she said.

"And I stick out like a sore thumb, I have got a camper trailer, I have got a roof rack with all sorts of things on there. It's like a neon sign. It's not like I can go under the radar.

"It's terrifying, I am now a complete outcast."

Jenny said she had been staying at a deserted campsite in Mildura and was trying as far as possible not to attract any attention. But the past few months had taken a toll.

"It's been extremely depressing, it's knocked me for six. I have had that many meltdowns since this thing has started that it's ridiculous," she said.

"I've gone from being a valued person who volunteers and helps contribute to tourism, to being shunned."

Nomads who could travel went north

Cindy Gough, who runs the popular website, said while things were still tough for some grey nomads in Victoria, there was a "growing sense of optimism" among the travellers in other parts of Australia, especially now that many could move freely around the states they were in.

Many grey nomads who were able to cross the state borders while they were open had gone north and appeared happy to stay, she said.

"A lot of people who have bene able to go north did go north, whether it was to the Northern Territory or Queensland," Ms Gough said.

"We have heard feedback from people saying they are just going to stay north because they don't know what is going to happen next and they kind of like where they are.

"They are thinking we are safe, we are in an interesting part of the country that is great to explore, so why move." ... d=msedgdhp

Restrictions ease on Victorian abattoirs but peak industry bodies frustrated with timeline
Meatworks in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria will be able to increase workforce numbers under the next step of the state's roadmap to recovery.

Last month, COVID-19 restrictions forced meatworks and distribution centres to move to two-thirds of peak production in a bid to avoid virus outbreaks.

On Monday, regional meat processing facilities will be able to run at 90 per cent capacity, and in Melbourne, 80 per cent of workers will be able to return.

All poultry processors across the state will be able to operate at 90 per cent capacity, with the Premier citing animal welfare concerns for farmed birds.

The chief executive of the Australian Meat Industry Council, Patrick Hutchinson, welcomed the announcement, but said the decision should have been made weeks ago.

"About time, as an industry, we have been clearly showing how we've been able to manage this virus.

"We had those initial issues in metro Melbourne, but other than Colac causing some concerns, there have been no issues at all in processing facilities in regional Victoria.

"We're very happy these draconian restrictions have now been lifted."

Regional Victoria is already living under the third step of the roadmap, allowing people to travel and hospitality businesses to reopen.

Multi-million-dollar investments
Mr Hutchinson said a "complete misunderstanding" of the agriculture sector by the State Government and Department of Health and Human Services was a major contributing factor for the "unacceptable" length the restrictions were in place.

"The Premier has said on multiple occasions that he understands our industry deeply, however, we're still struggling to see how that actually manifests itself.

"If he understood the industry as deeply as he says he does, it would have been a lot easier for us to show him all of the millions and millions of dollars invested that have been made in managing this virus."

Now that these restrictions have eased Mr Hutchinson said the processors would be ramping up production to make up for lost time.

"I don't think it's too late, but that being said it's going to be very difficult for us to hit peak performance prior to that Christmas period.

"But I know members up and down the supply chain will be doing everything they can to ensure that people have as normal a Christmas as possible."

Kinks in the supply chain
CEO of Ritchies IGA, Fred Harrison, said it was vital the meat supply chain got back up and running.

"It's a massive step in the right direction," he said.

"It may be a gradual increase. Going to 80, 90, then 100 per cent is probably not a bad idea. It just allows us to tool up in a staged manner.

He said moving into spring there was more demand for meat products, and it would have been hard to meet the demand with a reduced workforce.

Mr Harrison said he welcomed the full return of workers to food distribution centres, but the whole food supply chain needed to ramp up production, especially since there had already been months of delays.

"Going into Christmas you've got to start to get turkeys, hams and a whole lot of other products ready, and with the limitations on workforce there isn't the manpower to do the work."

"Every little piece helps, but we need to try and ramp-up to normal production." ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne hospitality venues slated to reopen on October 19
he reopening of Melbourne restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs has been flagged for October 19, as the city tracks ahead of schedule in Victoria's roadmap towards a new COVID normal.

In a press conference this afternoon, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he expected Melbourne to take the third step out of restrictions a week earlier than planned, as new daily COVID-19 cases continue to drive down across the state.

Hospitality venues were originally slated to reopen on October 26 with predominantly outdoor seated service, and density limits in place.

"This is a strategy that is designed to get us to a COVID normal Christmas. We are well on track, in fact, we are ahead of time when it comes to achieving that outcome," the Premier said.

"That is a credit to every single Victorian who is staying the course, working hard, making sacrifices.

"We have to get this done, we have to complete this task."

On September 28, metropolitan Melbourne will move to the second stage of eased restrictions, which includes the removal of the 9pm curfew, and up to five people from a maximum of two households allowed in outdoor gatherings.

Restaurants and cafés are still restricted to takeaway, and the five-kilometre radius rule continue to apply.

Melbourne will progress to the third step if the state records a daily average of fewer than five new cases, and fewer than five new cases of unknown community transmission, over a 14-day period.

Victoria recorded 16 new cases overnight. Today, metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day daily case average is 22.1, according to the ABC. ... d=msedgdhp

Premier Daniel Andrews details Melbourne's move into second step on COVID-19 recovery roadmap
Melbourne's curfew will be lifted, all primary school students will return to the classroom in early October and up to five people can gather outside from tomorrow, Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.

Here is a summary of what happened on Sunday:

Andrews says 127,000 Victorians will be able to get back to work.
Here is what's allowed from Monday in Metropolitan Melbourne.
Melbourne curfew scrapped, third step brought forward as coronavirus restrictions eased.
NSW reports zero new cases amid school holiday warning.
The Federal Government remains hopeful travel between Australia and New Zealand can resume by the end of the year. ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:47 am



'A very good day': NSW records zero new coronavirus cases
The NSW government will not make any immediate changes to COVID-19 restrictions but has praised the community's efforts after no new cases were reported on Sunday, the first time the state has reported zero cases in more than three months.

With 12,333 tests processed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, the number of cases recorded in the state has remained stable at 4029. NSW has had no local transmissions on five of the past seven days.

The last time NSW had a day with no new cases reported, from either overseas arrivals or locally acquired, was June 10.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard thanked the community for adhering to restrictions and following advice.

"No locally acquired cases. No internationally acquired cases. No interstate acquired cases. A very good day. But no vaccine and no treatment = no room for complacency," he said on Twitter.

Despite the state's success, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has not made any changes to the restrictions.

"We are continually reviewing restrictions across NSW in line with our expert health advice," Ms Berejiklian said on Sunday.

"While the health and safety of the people of NSW remains our priority, we are also focused on firing up the economy and getting people back in jobs. We don't want any restrictions in place longer than they need to be."

Last week, the government eased a raft of restrictions, including allowing more than one parent to watch children's sport, and bridal parties permitted back on dance floors. Audience numbers for theatres and concert halls will also be increased from Thursday to as many as 1000 people and schools will be able to go on excursions and camps next term, hold inter-school sporting competitions and music ensembles can resume.

NSW Health's Christine Selvey encouraged people to remain vigilant and get tested immediately if they had a runny nose, scratchy throat, cough or fever.

"This is particularly important with the start of the school holidays and increased movement of people around the state," Dr Selvey said.


68 people with the coronavirus are receiving treatment in NSW hospitals but none of them are on ventilators.
A total of 2,672,392 tests have now been conducted in NSW.

NSW records no new COVID-19 cases for first time in months
New South Wales has recorded no new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours in a huge achievement for the state as numbers continue to fall.

This is the first time NSW has recorded zero new infections since June 10.

Today's figures come as COVID-19 restrictions eased across the state yesterday for weddings and community and school sport.

NSW numbers have continued to decline, with one new case recorded yesterday attributed to an overseas traveller in hotel quarantine.

Four cases were recorded on Friday, three in hotel quarantine and one locally acquired. ... wsrc%5Etfw
NSW Health's Dr Jeremy McAnulty said yesterday the locally acquired case was a man aged in his 50s who frequented the southwest Sydney area.

"Anyone who attended Woolworths at Campbelltown Mall on Thursday September 17 between 1.30 and 2pm is considered a casual contact of this individual and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if symptoms develop," Dr McAnulty said.

The total number of cases in the state is remains at 4029. ... d=msedgdhp

No new coronavirus infections were detected in NSW on Sunday, the first zero-cases day in almost four months.

The state has in the past week recorded several days of no new local cases, but this is the first day where there were also none in hotel quarantine.

The last time zero cases of any kind were reported in NSW was June 10, before infected Victorians caused an outbreak in Sydney.

There are still 90 active cases in NSW, nine of whom are in hospital and three in intensive care. ust 18 cases were detected over the past week, only one of which was from an unknown source.

The tiny number of new cases in recent weeks led to South Australia opening its border to NSW and increases pressure on Queensland to follow suit.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, facing an election next month, is stubbornly refusing to open the NSW border.

She demands there be no community transmission for 14 days in a row, despite there being almost none for weeks.NSW Health official Christine Selvey urged residents with any symptoms to keep getting tested despite there being so few cases.

'We continue to ask people to remain vigilant and come forward for testing immediately if symptoms such as a runny nose, scratchy throat, cough or fever appear,' she said.

'This is particularly important with the start of the school holidays and increased movement of people around the state.' ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

From boom to despair: Sydney's west to suffer Covid symptoms 'for generations'
Before the coronavirus outbreak, there was a sense that western Sydney – despite its challenges – was on the up. With a booming population, it had become the third biggest economy in Australia, trailing only the Sydney CBD and Melbourne.

And with an international airport on the way and plenty of infrastructure spending by the state government, there was optimism it would continue to generate jobs and economic growth.
The western Sydney international airport should be a boon for Sydney’s west.

Its population growth has outpaced Sydney as a whole every year for the past six years. That made it an economic engine, fuelling population-serving industries such as construction and retail. But the growth had a hidden weakness: the labour market.

And now the pandemic has exposed just how vulnerable the region really is, Prof Phillip O’Neill, director at the Centre for Western Sydney, says.

Related: Australia's jobless to face mutual obligation rule despite few job vacancies

The centre’s report, “Where are the jobs?”, details some of the challenges.

“The weaknesses in the labour market will be the hurdles you’ll need to overcome coming out [of Covid-19],” O’Neill says.

“To some extent, the western Sydney problem has galloped away from us. It’s a combination of many failures. At the core of the failure is the unwillingness to genuinely generate high concentrations of jobs in the region.”

Construction, retail and hospitality nosedive
With a dependence on industries such as construction, retail and hospitality, western Sydney could double the national unemployment figure as those sectors’ nosedive.

“Some sub-regions in western Sydney are likely to experience unemployment at double national rates or more, and these are likely to persist long after a national economic upturn,” O’Neill says.

Elfa Moraitakis, chief executive of SydWest Multicultural Services, says: “More and more people [in western Sydney]will be reliant on Centrelink … And we’ll be going back to increasing rates of people living below the poverty line.”

The centre’s report attributes much of the job growth before the pandemic to “population-driven” industries. If population growth slows, the industries will face a downturn.

The jobs deficit number is rising and this occurs at the end of a record jobs boom in western Sydney

Prof Phillip O’Neill
“Western Sydney’s record population growth rates are likely to be reined in as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning likely slowdowns in jobs growth in the population-driven sectors,” it says.

It singles out construction, which was the largest source of local jobs in the years leading up to 2018: “The construction sector, where a bust follows every boom, has already commenced significant downturn.

“So the sidelining of the construction sector and the population-driven sectors leaves the region’s growing labour force vulnerable to severe and prolonged experiences of unemployment.”

These industries also make for unstable employment, short-term jobs that don’t have the flexibility or potential of professional jobs

“These typically are the lowest-paid jobs and those that require people to have the least level of skilling,” O’Neill says.

“There are insufficient jobs for the number of resident workers. The jobs deficit number is rising and this occurs at the end of a record jobs boom in western Sydney.”

Long-term effect
Moraitakis’ organisation works mostly with migrants and refugees and she says it is already tough for jobseekers.

Local businesses had been hit hard: “They had already reduced staffing hours, and some of these businesses had already closed. And they’re probably still closed.

Transport has always been an issue

Elfa Moraitakis
“Recruitment had completely stopped [and] they had no plans on recruiting any new employees due to the loss of income they had already experienced.”

The same goes for retail and hospitality, which O’Neill says aren’t the kinds of high-paying, permanent jobs that can sustain a growing economy.

For those with higher education qualifications, work within their field is hard to find close to home.

O’Neill says although the number of professionals in western Sydney had skyrocketed, most had to leave to find work.

Related: Jobseeker's rise has kept millions out of poverty. It must remain raised | Greg Jericho

Transport bottleneck
As the sector grows in western Sydney, so too will a potential commuting nightmare, he says.

It means people have to leave the region in droves every day for work with congestion and accessibility undermining any improvement to local jobs.

Those who cannot make a daily commute are forced to find work locally, creating a jobs bottleneck that was barely keeping up before the pandemic.

Moraitakis says: “Transport has always been an issue.”

The report predicts that by 2036 there could be more than half a million workers leaving the area every day.

“That’s a daily nightmaren,” O’Neill says. “We don’t have the infrastructure to get those people to work. It’s unsustainable, both from an environmental and social point of view.”

Pockets of deprivation
The reports also discuss why some areas in western Sydney seemed immune to job growth even before the pandemic.

“Western Sydney’s poor neighbourhoods remain one of Australia’s most serious social and economic issues,” the report says.

“These areas have among the highest levels of socioeconomic disadvantage in Australia with evidence of joblessness that has become inter-generational.”

O’Neill says the persistence of unemployment reflects a failure in policy: “Market forces cannot remove that unemployment problem.

“We need to have a return to systematic training and job placement for those segments of the population who are unable to compete for the dwindling supply of jobs in the unskilled labour market.”

Moraitakis, however, thinks the region can bounce back better than previous recessions.

“I think that this time around it might be a little easier … but it’ll have an impact for generations,” she says.. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW summer holiday rentals 'surging' amid COVID-19, with interest in Daleys Point up 730 per cent
It's the little-known locality 90km from Sydney — and this summer it could resemble another Harbour City suburb as coronavirus restrictions have many people looking for holidays close to home.

Airbnb compared this year's summer searches to last year's, and revealed searches for Daleys Point, on the NSW Central Coast, had skyrocketed over 730 %.
<< We just call the area "The Entrance" , was just a bunch of sleepy fishing villages and farming hamlocks when I was a kid , some good fishing (if dangerous/lethal - mose deadly rock hoppers spots around here) , access to the river and easy access to all areas of Sydney - too built out for my liking.

The coronavirus pandemic meant movement was restricted in NSW for parts of this year, and while Prime Minister Scott Morrison predicted people would be free to travel between many states before Christmas, most borders currently remain closed.

The Airbnb data showed the massive increase was for summer rental searches conducted between January 1 and September 15.

Airbnb country manager Susan Wheeldon said many Sydneysiders were keen to escape the city this summer.

"We're particularly seeing interest surge in regional areas within driving distance of Sydney and that includes places like the Central Coast, Mid-North Coast, Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands," Ms Wheeldon said.

Destination NSW destinations within 200 kilometres of Sydney were dominating bookings this year.

"We know from anecdotal feedback that the areas around Sydney [within two hours] and the North Coast are seeing strong bookings for summer," a spokesperson said.

Anna McCall, a property manager in the Bouddi Peninsula with 25 holiday lettings on her books, said interest in Daleys Point may simply be people nabbing what's left in the area.

Ms McCall described this year's interest in the Central Coast, including Avoca, Killcare and Daleys Point, as "massive".

"Christmas and New Years weeks are completely booked out, I have half a dozen on a waitlist, and this far out that is pretty unusual," she said.

"High-end properties, too — my guess would be people who would normally go overseas are seeking out those more high-end properties."

Ms Wheeldon said Daleys Point was "such a beautiful part of the Central Coast".

"So many of our listings in the area are surrounded by treetops with views of the water and given it's only an hour and half's drive from Sydney, we're not surprised it's a popular location."

Airbnb found searches for Wyong Creek, also on the Central Coast, were up 260 % , while people looking for accommodation in North Arm Cove, on the Mid-North Coast, was up 260 %.

Ms Wheeldon also said searches for treehouses, cabins, miniature homes and farm stays were "highly sought-after" following some months of lockdown in NSW earlier in the year.

Travel website Wotif's managing director Daniel Finch said interest in Forster, about four hours north of Sydney, was up about 240 % on last year.

He said the Mid-North Coast was emerging as a hot travel destination "as NSW travellers find alternates to crossing state borders or going overseas to Bali".
Kingscliff up 215 %
is a great spot , but a full day's drive from Hornsby ( North Sydney suburb ) , just a quick dash to QLD border Tweed Riv crossing .
Yamba up 170 %
a few hours S of Kingscliff , also a great spot
and Byron Bay up 140 %
same general area , great beaches and forest adventures and fishing , and known for "hippy culture"

are trending on, with more interest coming through at this early stage than seen in previous years," he said.

Mr Finch said Sydney remained the fifth most popular search, and predicted some people would take advantage of fewer crowds in the city these summer holidays.

Meanwhile, on the South Coast, Kristy Mayhew from Shoalhaven Tourism said vendors were hoping to see the momentum of a busy winter continue through the summer months.

"After the bushfires and months of COVID, our local businesses that rely on the visitor economy took a big hit," Ms Mayhew said.

"Understandably, many Sydneysiders who had been restricted from travelling have ventured back to the Shoalhaven of late which led to our winter being really busy and our businesses needed that boost."

But Ms Mayhew said locals were wary of Sydneysiders who head south this summer being too relaxed about COVID health and safety.

"One thing we'd like to avoid is people coming if they haven't booked ahead, especially if they are expecting to free camp," Ms Mayhew said.

"Many campsites and National Park areas are still closed from bushfires and many will require people to sign in or book ahead of time.

"We'd encourage people to have their own off-peak summer in February-March instead." ... d=msedgdhp

Six teenagers arrested after causing $50,000 in damages on muck up day
Six teenagers have been arrested after a school was vandalised in a muck up day rampage, causing $50,000 in damages.

The male students, aged 17 to 18, allegedly broke into Fairfield West school in Sydney's west on September 23 between 5pm and 10pm.

Police allege the group destroyed property, spray-painted walls and ransacked classrooms.

Officers saw eight people running through the school when they arrived at the scene.

Two 17-year-old boy's were arrested and charged with aggravated break and enter, malicious damage, stealing and graffiti after they were allegedly found hiding in a park.

They appeared in a children's court on September 24 where they were granted conditional bail, to reappear in a children's court on November 2.

Another two students, age 17, were arrested on Thursday following further inquiries.

On the same day, a fifth 17-year-old was arrested after he turned himself into Fairfield Police Station.

An 18-year-old man was later arrested at at a home in Casula, in Sydney's south-west.

All four also also faced charges of aggravated break and enter, malicious damage, stealing and graffiti.

The older student was granted conditional bail and will appear in Fairfield Local Court on October 12.

The five younger students were granted conditional bail and will appear in a children's court on November 2.

Police Minister David Elliott slammed Muck Up day, saying it was not an excuse for alleged criminal behaviour.

'Kids that aren't going to comply with the law will be dealt with both by, I expect, the schools, but certainly by police,' he said on Saturday, according to 7 News.

'Mucking up because it's your last day of school is going to be no excuse when you're before the magistrate.' ... d=msedgdhp

Cab caught crossing NSW-VIC border
A young man out on bail has been charged after allegedly attempting to travel from Victoria into New South Wales in a taxi yesterday.

Police say they stopped a Victorian taxi at a checkpoint on the Hume Highway in Albury at around 4.30pm.When they asked the passenger to produce a permit, they found it was not valid.

The 26-year-old was questioned by police and admitted he wanted to go shopping in Albury.

He was arrested and taken to Albury Police Station, where he was charged with breaching the Public Health Order and breaching his bail conditions. ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:31 am


Palaszczuk makes $624m commitment to hire an extra 2,025 police across Queensland
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has committed a future Labor government to delivering an additional 2,025 police officers over the next five years.

The announcement comes days after the Queensland Government's stoush with the Federal Government over the decision to pull Australian Defence Force troops off border-checkpoint duty by the end of the month.

The Premier said one new coronavirus case had been confirmed in Queensland overnight, and the person who tested positive was already in hotel quarantine.

Ms Palaszczuk said increasing police numbers at a cost of $624 million would be "the largest investment in local police that has been seen in this state over the past 30 years".

The rollout of the extra personnel began in July.

Ms Palaszczuk said the promised boost would include 1,450 new positions dedicated to frontline police work, 150 of which would be located in what she called "key regions" across the state.

There will be an extra 50 positions assigned to the child protection investigation unit, which Ms Palaszczuk said was "very much needed".

Another 300 positions will be spread across communications, prosecutions and watch houses.

Ms Palaszczuk said her Government also planned to introduce 25 new mobile police beats across the state.

"Hopefully if the community reacts well to them, we'll be able to roll out more," she said.

The new mobile beats would be deployed in Cairns, Townsville and the Gold Coast, among other places.

Plan months in the making
Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said she was pleased the Government had responded to the need for more personnel both on the streets and off.

"It is the largest growth in a generation and it is not just frontline police, blue shirts, it is the support that needs to be there to help them do their job," Commissioner Carroll said.

Commissioner Carroll said she hoped the extra staffing commitment would remain in place even if the LNP was elected to government next month.

Asked whether her presence at the announcement was appropriate so close to the election, Commissioner Carroll said she had been working on the rollout for some time.

"This was work that's been going on for a number of months, so this is not just happening today and we're not into, obviously, caretaker yet so we've got to be very careful about that," she said.

The Government will enter caretaker mode on October 6 ahead of the October 31 poll.

'This is fully funded'
Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers welcomed the commitment, saying cuts to administration staff in previous years added to the workload of frontline officers.

"That meant my colleagues were not leaving the police station, they were doing administrative duties, which is not what the public expect."

"Those admin staff support frontline police and enable them to do the great job they do right around the state of Queensland."

Mr Leavers said he worked closely with the Government and police to ensure the plan was fully funded.

"I sat down with the Minister and it has been articulated to ensure that this is fully funded, otherwise it is pointless," he said. ... d=msedgdhp


NT firms to lay off staff while others adapt to federal JobKeeper changes
Politicians have dubbed it as Australia's economic "comeback capital", but from tomorrow the Northern Territory faces one of its toughest hurdles in maintaining that claim.

The Commonwealth's wage subsidy scheme JobKeeper changes to a new phase on Monday, which will see the payment rate drop and many businesses no longer eligible.

For some, like Darwin car yard manager Shamir Hossain, the changes mean they will be forced to lay off staff just to keep the business afloat.

"We are a team of six people, and definitely because of this change of JobKeeper, we need to lay a few of our staff off to manage the cost," Mr Hossain said.

His business, Darwin Auto Motors, saw a spike in sales when the pandemic peaked in the NT earlier this year, he said, and those figures pushed him out of the new JobKeeper eligibility threshold.

But since then sales have dived.

"People started buying cars because they got early superannuation access, and government started giving them more money, through tax benefits and other stuff," he said.

"But now it's all over."

Between April and July, statistics show more than 4,000 Territory employers received the JobKeeper payments each month, which pushed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars into the NT's economy.

NT's finances fragile pre-coronavirus
The Territory's economy was fragile long before the pandemic.

The end of major private industry projects and the mining boom has seen it rated as Australia's worst performing jurisdiction in the most recent CommSec State of the States report.

But having had just 34 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began and minimal COVID-19 restrictions in place, the NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has consistently hailed it as having potential as the nation's "comeback capital".

However, Mr Hossain said the JobKeeper shift would test this, particularly as the NT heads into its annual wet season lull.

"The wet season is coming, and historically during the wet season time, it's slow, slow, slow," Mr Hossain said.

"Darwin has been going through that downturn time for the past few years, and we were just trying to survive through that time.

"This year, with COVID-19, the challenge will be double.

"Stopping JobKeeper [now] we are left behind in the middle of nowhere."

NT tipped to lose $8.5 million a fortnight
Territory MP Luke Gosling, wrote online last week that the changes to JobKeeper would see NT workers lose a combined $8.5 million per fortnight.

"[JobKeeper] is a temporary scheme but we are in a national recession and in the NT going into the quieter wet season," Mr Gosling said.

"This is exactly the wrong time for the federal Government to be cutting support."

In a written response to questions about the impact of JobKeeper's shift on the NT, Treasurer Josh Frydenburg said "the Morrison Government will continue to do what is necessary to cushion the blow and help Australians get to the other side of the crisis".

Mr Hossain also called on the Commonwealth to judge the NT separately than other states due to its unique seasonal situation, and for the Territory Government to push the case forward.

"The Territory Government has some responsibility to talk to the Federal Government to demand they keep this JobKeeper rolling at least until January," he said.

Mr Gunner said his government had "pushed hard for JobKeeper to be created and then to be extended".

"It’s been a job saver for the Territory, and the longer it stays, the more jobs it will save," Mr Gunner said.

"We are worried that there might not be enough flexibility for businesses in special circumstances who still need support but might fall through the cracks, and we are talking to the Commonwealth about that.

"This is the biggest economic crisis in a century and it’s not over yet."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously indicated he wouldn't consider an extension to the JobKeeper scheme on a geographical basis.

Businesses forced to 'refocus' operations
Others in the Territory are optimistic about a post-JobKeeper landscape.

Natalie Bell runs a small Darwin communications agency for the business events sector, and said for her to survive through the pandemic "JobKeeper was an absolute lifeline".

But since first receiving it, she has been shifting her company to "refocus" for a future without the subsidy.

"Now is the time for businesses to also reassess how they're operating and to look to the future, to look to virtual and hybrid events as an offering," Ms Bell said.

Without JobKeeper, Ms Bell said the onus was now on the Commonwealth to ensure promised future support for her industry was swiftly "confirmed, finalised and delivered to industry".

She also said the Territory's relaxed coronavirus restrictions meant events were "starting to come back online", including a mango festival taking place in Darwin next month. ... d=msedgdhp


Tasmania the recipient of $13m federal tourism recovery package
Tasmania is set to be the major beneficiary of a new federal government recovery package aimed at helping the tourism industry recover from the coronavirus downturn.
It has been revealed $13 million of a $150 million fund will be spent in the island state.

The package aims to secure flights, boost marketing, put on events or festivals, and re-focus on domestic visitors. ... d=msedgdhp


9 of 11 crew members on bulk ore ship off Pt Hedland test positive for COVID-19
Another seven people on bulk ore ship off Western Australia have tested positive for coronavirus.< reprted yesterday>
Was at anchor waiting it's turn to dock and take on a load of iron ore at this bulk ore loading facility owned by BHP Iron Ore
The ship is anchored off Port Headland after arriving from the Philippines last week and two crew members initially tested positive and were transferred into hotel quarantine.

A skeleton crew of nine remained on board, seven of which have returned a positive result for the virus.

The Western Australian Health Minister says protecting the local community is his first priority.] ... d=msedgdhp

Halls Creek community leaders recall the day coronavirus entered the remote Indigenous community
When coronavirus came to the small outback town of Halls Creek in Western Australia it was "like a bomb went off", according to Brenda Garstone.

"We all had to run for cover," she said.

"We were scrambling. We didn't know where to go, or what to do."

Sitting about 500 kilometres from the Northern Territory border, the East Kimberley town of Halls Creek has mainly an Indigenous population.

It's a sleepy little place with a great truckstop/restraunt and lots of exploring potential by 4x4 and for site seeing and wildlife encounters. Been there .

By April, the warning from the WA Department of Health was clear: any community transmission in towns with remote communities would be devastating for the populations.

When four healthcare workers at the local hospital returned positive tests, there was an expectation that the reaction from authorities had to be swift.

All at once, residents refused to attend the healthcare clinic for fear of picking up the virus, local shops emptied and Aboriginal men from the town's night patrol went door to door, trying to communicate the seriousness of what was unfolding.

Ms Garstone, head of the Yura Yungi Aboriginal Medical Service, said when news of the diagnosis began to leak in the community, it was difficult to communicate just how high the stakes were.

"We have really vulnerable people in our community … it could have wiped our population out," she said.

"The people felt really scared, they were confused — they wanted to know how they could be protected, what were people doing, what were services doing."

The four patients had self-isolated and the threat was being tracked by the department, but local authorities were faced with the challenging task of keeping a community, that was spread across land bigger than the size of Greece, calm.

Back from the brink
Shire President Malcolm Edwards remembered the height of the hysteria well, and recalled the reaction in the remote community of Balgo, 250km south of Halls Creek.

"Down at Balgo, I heard they got 50 body bags in the community," he said.

"You hear that and people think … 'If it gets out it's going to be a disaster'."

Senior Sergeant Dean Bailey said his first few days managing the response in town was spent trying to keep unfounded rumours from circulating, and keeping community frustration away from the interstate healthcare workers accused of "bringing the virus into town".

"I think shock, fear, and confusion throughout the town were probably the initial reactions," he said.

"Followed very, very closely by some anger towards the professions that brought it in."

Mr Edwards said while anger at the healthcare workers bubbled away, it was the combined efforts of the WA Country Health Service and the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service that helped contain the outbreak.

Still, there were unique issues Halls Creek had to face on its own.

A race to protect the vulnerable
There was a rush from residents to head bush to get away from the town centre, and a number of people were forced to follow the WA Government's directive to return to their communities.

"Immediately there was overcrowding," Mr Edwards said.

"Funerals weren't happening, people from the NT came in – I don't know how they did, whether there was side tracks or bush tracks they knew about.

"[But] the situation, the tension; everything escalated … things were a bit out of control."

And after months of police working extra hours, councillors coordinating meetings with different emergency agencies, and community leaders slowly educating residents about what was being done to kerb the threat, the situation was eventually brought to a simmer.

But the threat continues to hang over the head of those who were in charge of the first response.

Small town's tensions remain high
Ms Garstone said it was now more important than ever to address the way Halls Creek's experience exposed a fundamental flaw in the town's healthcare system.

"Coronavirus should never have come to Halls Creek," she said.

"Having healthcare workers come in from coronavirus — they should have been much more vigilant.

"The rule was essential workers can come in, [but] they should have been screened appropriately before they came in."

Ms Garstone said the town's reliance on interstate fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers continued to be a serious concern, and she had called for the State Government to invest further in training West Australians to take on remote community healthcare positions.

Senior Sergeant Bailey said the experience had taught his officers about the importance of a connection to the community as they continued to spend hours on the road patrolling major roads in and out of the town, checking for people who might be attempting to make the crossing illegally.

"It's not lost on me, and it's certainly not lost on my staff, that the impact [of a second wave] would be huge," he said.

"We would lose a lot of people through the Kimberley.

"That's … why we take it so serious or why we do what we do — it's to protect everyone up here." ... d=msedgdhp

Perth city businesses emerge from coronavirus crisis looking to new mayor to help revitalise CBD
[img]While some green shoots of business are returning to Perth's CBD after COVID-19, things are still far from normal for florist Rebecca Const.

"We've lost a lot of ongoing corporate work that's our bread and butter, 52 weeks a year," she said.

"We've noticed that, being a delivery business, we're walking bouquets of flowers up and down the terrace all the time, and there are stark contrasts from building to building.

"Some of it's coming back, but we really need people back in the city."

As mayoral and council candidates ramp up their pitches for a seat on the new Perth City Council, Mrs Const, owner of Fox and Rabbit Premium Flowers, said she wanted to see them push for activities and events to help draw people in and keep them after hours.

"This is probably the most interested I've been in an election in the city before, because I do see that my business is going to rely on the changes this new mayor makes and the action plans they put in place," she said.

Empty offices leave city facing 'critical time'
Across the CBD, Perth's office vacancy rate remains the highest out of Australia's capital cities.

Data from the Property Council put the overall vacancy rate in July at 18.4 per cent — double the national CBD average.

Small businesses in the city are also grappling with less foot traffic.

At the end of August, occupancy levels for Perth offices were down 45 per cent on pre-COVID levels.

Lease Equity managing director Jim Tsagalis said local government could hold some of the keys to enticing people back to the city.

Like Mrs Const, he wanted to see arts and culture activation, plus the easing of red tape, quicker development assessments and food business approvals.

"I think it's a really critical time for the city," he said.

"What COVID's done is give us permission to just cut a lot of the preamble and get on with the task at hand.

"I think if we can carry that [momentum] through the next 365 days of the next lord mayor and council, we'll have a step change in what Perth city stands for."

Filling up vacancies across town
On the edges of the city, the question remains the same for prospective mayors and council candidates — what will you do to draw people in?

In West Perth, there is growing concern from businesses about more 'for lease' signs popping up.

Property Council data put July office vacancies in West Perth at 22.1 per cent, partly because of pre-pandemic moves from tenants into the CBD.

Much like Mr Tsagalis in the CBD, Edward Johnson from Gangemi's Fine Wines and Food wanted to see red tape ease so small businesses could potentially run events outside their stores and activate the area.

"If there's more people here, it makes it a more lively place," he said.

"It needs to be more attractive for people to buy property and lease property in the city. And I think it needs to be cleaner, safer, brighter for that to happen."

Mr Johnson said free parking trials in the area had also been a boost and he wanted to see them continue across the city.

"The streets were clearly more vibrant, there were so many more people stopping," he said.

"We definitely got a lot of people coming in and saying 'I've never been in here before, I've always driven past but never come in'."

How to attract the weekend crowds
Over in East Perth, businesses are determined to see their own free parking initiatives extended, along with having council candidates address empty buildings and finding ways to breathe life into their end of the city.

Sussa Cafe owner Mariana Pilon said the weekends were particularly difficult for East Perth.

"The main problem is trying to revitalise the area, bring the area alive again," she said.

"[Many coffee shops] all tried for some time to open on the weekends.

"I tried to open for a month, and you don't have people coming from the outer suburbs to walk around East Perth. It didn't work, we've all tried."

Along with parking, Ms Pilon thought activation through markets and activities for kids could be the key.

Call for new councillors to engage
Across the city, businesses and workers wanted to see councillors venture beyond the chambers once the election is done and dusted.

The issue of homelessness was also raised by many businesses, who wanted to see more support for people sleeping rough.

"The councillors need to take counsel from business and from the residents. What do they want?" Mr Tsagalis said.

"When everyone's electioneering there's a lot of questions asked — what makes a difference?

"The same sort of feedback loop should be a constant for the council going forward."[/img] ... d=msedgdhp


Federal Government announces $150m for regional tourism operators
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has also revealed that the international border between Australia and New Zealand could be open by the end of the year. ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:53 am









CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:30 am


Victoria records 5 new coronavirus cases and 3 deaths as Melbourne restrictions lift slightly
Premier Daniel Andrews says Victoria is "so close" to being able to take a "really big step" towards COVID-normal, as the state records its lowest daily case increase in more than three months.

Five new cases were recorded overnight, the state's lowest daily case increase since June 12, when four cases were recorded.

The state has also recorded three more deaths linked to aged care outbreaks: a man in his 60s, a woman in her 80s and a man in his 90s.

Melbourne's 14-day daily new case average has dropped to 20.3 from 22.1 overnight while regional Victoria's 14-day average remains at 0.6.


Mr Andrews said the state was "so, so close" to defeating the second wave.

"We are so close to being able to take a really big step, a big step towards that COVID-normal," he said.

"What's incredibly important, and I think every Victorian knows this … is that everyone keeps following the rules, keeps doing the right thing."

Authorities aim to test one in 40 Victorians each fortnight
The five cases were detected among 6,807 tests, which Mr Andrews said was still a reasonably "robust" number of tests to gauge levels of coronavirus in the community.

But he stressed the state could be held back from taking further steps to ease restrictions if not enough symptomatic Victorians came forward to be tested.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) coronavirus testing head Jeroen Weimar said over the past fortnight, 164,000 Victorians had come forward to be tested.

"That's the equivalent of one in 40 of all of our citizens coming forward to get tested over that two-week period," he said.

Mr Weimar said for every positive case detected in metropolitan Melbourne over the past fortnight, 387 tests came back negative.

In regional Victoria, 2,500 negative tests were returned for every positive case detected during the same period.

"In order for us to sustain these numbers … in order to be confident that we're beating this thing, we need to sustain our high testing levels," he said.

"We need to ensure that at least one in 40 Victorians come forward to get tested and we carry on in that way."

Concerns about testing in regional Victoria as high-risk suburbs targeted
The State Government has expanded its wastewater testing operations in regional Victoria to detect any traces of coronavirus.

New wastewater testing sites have been set up at Mildura and Swan Hill in the state's north-west, and at Wangaratta, Wodonga and Benalla in the north-east.

Wastewater testing will also begin in Castlemaine this week.

Mr Weimar said those sites would help authorities get a sense of people moving around the community with coronavirus.

"But it's a belt and braces approach," he said.

"We cannot rely upon this to find the coronavirus, but it will help to tell us where in particular we need to look and search more closely."

In Melbourne, the State Government has sent incident management teams to the Hobsons Bay, Casey and Dandenong local government areas in an attempt to increase testing in high-risk areas.

Rideshare and food delivery drivers are being encouraged to get tested, regardless of symptoms.

Public health advice, not dates, to determine next reopening steps
It comes as Melbourne moves to the second step of Victoria's roadmap out of lockdown.

All primary school students will resume classroom learning in two weeks, permits are no longer required for childcare, and up to five people from two different households can gather outside.

Mr Andrews said businesses struggling to navigate the new restrictions could call Business Victoria for help clarifying how the restrictions would affect them.

Regional Victoria moved to the third step of the roadmap on September 16.

Future steps of lifting restrictions will now be guided by public health advice and case numbers, without needing to wait for certain dates on the calendar.

Under the changes, the third step in Melbourne could occur as soon as October 19, rather than October 26 as initially planned.

Mr Andrews said if case numbers continued to fall and testing rates remained at a robust level, the restrictions around four reasons to leave your home could be removed.

But he said there may still need to be some limits around distance travelled.

"How far you can go, I'm not quite sure where we're going to land on that. We will get the least restrictive set of arrangements that don't compromise safety or don't run the high risk of us going backwards," he said.

The trigger points of Victoria recording a 14-day new cases average below five and fewer than five cases with an unknown source over two weeks still apply.

In Melbourne, there were 31 "mystery" cases recorded in the latest 14-day reporting period.

Regional Victoria's tally has been sitting at zero for more than one week.

Mandatory masks preferable to 'people needing machines to breathe'
After a two-week grace period Victorians will be required to wear a fitted face mask, rather than makeshift alternatives like bandanas and scarves.

Mr Andrews said as case numbers declined, more people would be moving around and coming into contact with each other, which is why the Government was tightening the rules around masks at a time when other restrictions were easing.

In response to questions about calls to scrap masks in regional Victoria, Mr Andrews said they provided large benefits for a low cost.

"Compared to everyone being locked in their homes and people needing machines to breathe? I reckon I can deal with foggy glasses. I reckon you can too," he said.

"I think they [masks] play a really important part. There will come a time when they're not needed and when that time comes, then people won't have to wear them." ... d=msedgdhp

Open for Christmas: Australia's virus hotspot could be near normal by summer
Melbourne, is on track to return to near normal by Christmas, strengthening hopes for major summer sporting events to go ahead amid a general economic revival.

Victoria a single digit rise in new cases for the first time in three months on Monday, with the lifting of some of the toughest curbs its capital of Melbourne, such as a night-time curfew, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

"That is a very, very significant set of numbers. We are well ahead of schedule," Andrews told a daily news conference, anticipating a move to "COVID normal", with most curbs eased.

However, he urged people to stick to strict social distancing rules, despite the rigours of an eight-week-old lockdown to limit the second wave.

"If people don't do the right thing in the final few weeks of the lockdown, or if they lie about where they've been, there's no COVID-normal Christmas," he said.

Stringent rules in Australia's second most populous state have proved divisive, with some provoking criticism from businesses, protest groups and even federal authorities.

Victoria announced changes to its "triggers" to determine further easing after announcing an immediate end to nightly curfews and possible advancement of the next round of such easing by a week, to Oct. 19.

The latest relaxation allowed 127,000 people to return to work on Monday, at manufacturing and food processing industries among others, offering a boost to the hard-hit economy.

But Melbourne retained strict curbs on where people can go and ordered a fine of nearly A$5,000 ($3,527) for those flouting limits on gatherings to two households in an outside space.

Victoria reported just five new virus cases and three deaths in the past 24 hours, down from a daily tally that topped 700 in early August.

The most populous state of New South Wales reported on Monday its second consecutive day without a virus case in more than three months, as did the northeastern state of Queensland.

Andrews said the downward trend in new infections bodes well for summer sporting events, such as the annual Boxing Day cricket test match and the Australian Open tennis tournament.

"What I can say, though, is, if we all stay the course and we continue to see these numbers down, that it becomes more possible to have a crowd of some size," Andrews said.

Australia's tally of infections stands at just over 27,000 with 875 deaths, with Victoria contributing about 75% of cases and nearly 90% of all deaths.

The numbers are still well below those in many other developed nations battling new waves of infection.

New Zealand recorded no new cases overnight as a recent outbreak eased. That has fuelled talk of travel between the Pacific neighbours resuming by year-end.

It was "possible" that New Zealanders would be able to travel to some Australian regions before Christmas, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told state broadcaster TVNZ on Monday.

Plans for a travel 'bubble' between the neighbours lost pace following the Melbourne resurgence of the virus and Auckland's second wave of infections. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria records five infections - lowest number since June (5th)
Melbourne's 9pm to 5am curfew has been lifted after being enforced for eight weeks in bids to bring the state's second deadly wave under control.
An estimated 127,000 workers will be able to return to their jobs and childcare centres can reopen.

The majority of these workers are in manufacturing, construction, distribution centres, warehouses and abattoirs.

Outdoor gatherings of up to five people from two households will now be allowed, however Premier Daniel Andrews also announced a new $5,000 fine to punish any unlawful gatherings that flout the limits.

'We are so close, so, so, so close to beating this thing and it is just not appropriate to be going to visit friends or gathering in car parks,' he said on Sunday.

Pressure is still growing on Mr Andrews to open up the state with industry bosses unsatisfied that many restrictions are still in place.
Retail, gyms, sporting clubs and cafes and restaurants are yet to receive any changes.

Retail is expected to open up again on October 19 but plans are still unclear.

Paul Zahra, Australians Retailers Association and former David Jones boss, said the delay in reopening stores would have a detrimental effect on the industry.

'We remain deeply concerned about the closure of retail to mid to late October - that is simply too close to Christmas to allow viable retail activity,' he told the Australian Financial Review.

Chris Lucas, the owner of leading restaurants in Melbourne including Chin Chin said he was disappointed with the new restrictions.

'We've still got nothing and no certainty when we can open again,' he said.

'We're a $12billion industry which employs 400,000 young Victorians and we continue to be in the dark.'

Scott Morrison also said more needed to be done to ensure businesses could survive the end of lockdown.

'Easing restrictions in Victoria in a COVIDsafe way is vitally important so that more Victorians can get back to work and resume their normal lives,' the prime minister said in a statement.

'Today's announcement is a small but important step in that direction. It will be important that more be done in the weeks ahead to safely ease more restrictions.'

Victoria's VCE and VCAL students will also return to school for assessments from October 5, with primary school students back on October 12.

Hospital patients will be allowed one visitor per day for a maximum of two hours, while patients under 18 will be allowed unlimited visits from two parents or carers.

Melbourne's two-hour exercise limit and 5km travel restriction remain, although Mr Andrews foreshadowed full freedom of movement could come on October 19 ahead of AFL grand final weekend.

He urged Victorians not to let their guard down, saying the virus would run wild if people pretend the second wave is over.

There were just 31 cases with an unknown source for Melbourne from September 12-25 and none outside the city.

* September 14 to September 27 - stage four lockdown for Melbourne with some changes, including the curfew moving back an hour to 9pm. << done

* September 27 - NSW, Queensland and WA will start taking more international arrivals.

* September 28 - Melbourne's 9pm to 5am curfew repealed, 127,000 people can return to work, childcare reopens and outdoor gatherings of up to five from two households are permitted among other rule changes.

* October 1 - Residents of Byron Shire, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley including Casino and Evans Head, Glen Innes and 41 other NSW postcodes will be added to the Queensland-NSW border bubble.

* October 5 - VCE and VCAL students back at school for tests

* October 12 - Melbourne primary school students to return to on-site learning

* October 26 - Tasmania's state of emergency due to expire. In Melbourne, the overnight curfew will be dropped if - over the previous fortnight - the average number of new cases falls below five and there are fewer than five cases from an unknown source.

* November - Victoria's hotel quarantine inquiry report due.

* November 23 - If there are no new cases for 14 days in Melbourne, the city will move to the 'last step'. That includes all retail shops opening, public gatherings of up to 50 people allowed outdoors, and up to 20 visitors at a time allowed into a home. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria Covid hotspots: list of Melbourne and regional case locations
List of case locations in Victoria
If you were at the following venues on these dates, you should watch for coronavirus symptoms and, if symptoms occur, immediately get tested and stay at home while you wait for your results.

Park House, 627 Victoria St, Abbotsford: 18 September
Chemist Warehouse, 433 Sydney Road, Brunswick: 11 September
Burwood One Shopping Centre, Burwood East: 13-14 September
Carrum Foreshore SLSC, Carrum: 18 September
Sarawan Spices, Clayton: 19 September
Coles, Clayton: 20 September
Clayton Supa Wash Coin Laundrette, Clayton: 20 September
DH Corrosion, Dandenong South: 17 September
FacadeX, Dandenong South: 17-18 September
Pacific Shopping Centre Werribee, Hoppers Crossing: 17 September
Woolworths, Hoppers Crossing: 19 September
Victorian Market Communications, Queen Victoria Market F Shed, Melbourne: 16-17 September
Primary Medical and Dental Centre, Melton: 16-17 September
Woolworths, Coburns Central Shopping Centre, Melton: 16-17 September
Woolworths Central Shopping Centre, Niddrie: 18 September
Woolworths, Oakleigh South: 14 September and 16 September
Baby Mode, Sunshine: 13 September
Dan Murphy’s, Sunshine North: 14 September
Coles Tarneit West, Tarneit: 20 September
KFC, Westgate, Port Melbourne: 11 September and 12 September ... d=msedgdhp


Andrews rubbishes Mikakos eradication strategy comments
Daniel Andrews has rejected calls that he is pursuing an eradication strategy, despite former Health Minister Jenny Mikakos tweeting the contrary.

“I am saddened to see more lives lost, my sympathy to their families. But I’m so pleased to see how low the numbers are. I’m so proud of Victorians and so grateful for the sacrifices made to get us to this point. We are well on the way to eradication,” Ms Mikakos said in a tweet.

Responding to a reporter the premier said eradication is not the strategy.

“No, it’s not. I have answered this question many, many times. That is not the strategy,” Mr Andrews said.

“The strategy is to suppress this virus and that’s the National Cabinet decision.”


Victorian Premier refuses to 'rule out' targeted mandatory COVID-19 testing
Premier Daniel Andrews says he “can’t rule out” mandatory COVID-19 testing in certain high-risk industries as part of new virus prevention measures as the economy reopens.

“I can't rule out that we make participating in what would be broadly surveillance testing in higher risk environments a feature of some of the decisions that we made yesterday,” he said.

Mr Andrews said a new saliva test would make largescale testing in workplaces “much easier”.

When asked whether the Victorian government had the power to compel people to take a coronavirus test, the premier said “I don’t think that it is going to get to that”.

However, he said the government would "strongly urge" certain industries to take advantage of the increased testing capacity made available over the last few months. ... d=msedgdhp


New rules for Victorian aged care facilities
Under new rules for metropolitan Melbourne, visitors are now allowed at aged care facilities and hospitals for up to two hours each day.


Melburnians STILL can't leave their homes except for 'essential' reasons
Melburnians still won't be allowed to leave their homes for non-essential reasons for another three weeks despite the 9pm to 5am curfew being lifted on Monday.

Scott Morrison called for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to review his roadmap that requires five daily cases to move to the third step, and zero new cases for the final step of eased restrictions.

'Easing restrictions in Victoria in a COVIDsafe way is vitally important so that more Victorians can get back to work and resume their normal lives,' the prime minister said in a statement.

'Today's announcement is a small but important step in that direction. It will be important that more be done in the weeks ahead to safely ease more restrictions.'
The city's multi-billion dollar hospitality industry also won't be able to reopen until at least mid-October.

Melburnians are currently only allowed to leave home to shop for essential supplies, work, two hours of exercise or providing medical care.

The city's residents slept through their final night of curfew as the Victorian government lifts the controversial lockdown measure.

They have lived with the nightly 9pm to 5am curfew for eight weeks in a move to bring the state's devastating second wave under control.

But it will be repealed from 5am on Monday under widespread rule relaxations unveiled on Sunday.

Mr Andrews said lifting the curfew did not mean people could hold private indoor or outdoor gatherings, with those caught doing so liable for a beefed-up $5000 fine.

'No one has the right to put everything that Victorians have done at risk by going and potentially spreading the virus, one family to another,' Mr Andrews said.

A trial contesting the curfew's legality under the state's human rights charter was scheduled for the Supreme Court on Monday.

The premier denied the move to repeal it was motivated by the legal action.

From 11.59pm on Sunday, 127,000 people can return to work - close to 30,000 more than originally expected.

Other rule changes include childcare reopening, allowances for outdoor gatherings of up to five from two households and the lifting of a shopping limit of one person per household a day.

Victoria's VCE and VCAL students will also return to school for assessments from October 5, with primary school students back on October 12.

Hospital patients will be allowed one visitor per day for a maximum of two hours, while patients under 18 will be allowed unlimited visits from two parents or carers.

Melbourne's two-hour exercise limit and 5km travel restriction remain, although Mr Andrews foreshadowed full freedom of movement could come on October 19 ahead of AFL grand final weekend.

He urged Victorians not to let their guard down, saying the virus would run wild if people pretend the second wave is over.

Victoria reported 16 new cases and two further fatalities on Sunday, taking the state's death toll to 784 and the national figure to 872.

Melbourne's 14-day case average dropped to 22.1, while regional Victoria's sits at just 0.6.

There are 399 active cases in the state, the first time that number has been under 400 since June 30. ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne's second step of coronavirus roadmap welcome news for school kids as industries push for greater easing
Melbourne family Zayn Rafiq, Meeka Rafiq, Randa Rafiq and Jibreel Rafiq (left-right) tune in to watch the daily coronavirus press conference

For months now, the Rafiq family has tuned in each day to Victoria's daily coronavirus update. On Sunday, they got the news they had been waiting for.

The two youngest children, Meeka and Zayn, will go back to face-to-face learning in a fortnight.

"I'm super happy," their mother Randa said.

"For them, mostly, I'm really ecstatic."

Under the second step out of Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown, primary school students and all specialist school students will be back in the classroom from October 12.

It's more than many were expecting, as the first version of the roadmap only had the youngest and oldest students returning to the classroom.

After about half the year learning from home, Year 6 student Meeka said the thing he was most looking forward to was seeing his friends and getting one-on-one time with his teachers.

"I really miss school, I never thought I'd say that but I really miss school. It's really weird," he said.

Those doing VCE and VCAL subjects will return for assessments from October 5, then for face-to-face classes from October 12.

Students in Year 7 to 10 will have to wait for another announcement before they return to the classroom.

The family's oldest, Year 10 student Jibreel, will split his time between home and travelling to school for his two VCE subjects.

He said he was looking forward to being fully back in the classroom, which would signify "there is a life outside of this lockdown".

Primary school principal Rebecca Spink said it was "amazing" students would be able to have a community again.

Opposition education spokeswoman Cindy McLeish said Sunday's announcement "offers little light for parents of teenagers already struggling to keep them engaged with school".

"Too many parents have been stretched too thin juggling work and at-home learning. They just want their children back at school with the right COVID-safe plans in place," she said.

The Opposition wants all students back in schools by the week of October 4, when term 4 begins.

While modelling done for the State Government shows primary school students are at a lower risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading the virus, Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said officials were still doing work on the risk to older students.

Industry group welcomes 'good start' but wants more restrictions eased
As students return to classrooms, about 127,000 people will have returned to work.

From today, many industries will start a partial return to work if they have a COVID-safe plan in place.

They include the childcare, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, postal, distribution, pet grooming and real estate sectors and some health services.

Warehousing, postal and distribution centres, supermarket and food distribution will no longer have to operate with reduced workforces.

In one of the only restrictions changing for regional Victoria, meatworks will be able to run at 90 per cent capacity across the state.

"It's good news for 130,000 Victorians who can head back into their workplace," said Paul Guerra, chief executive of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI).

"The task now is to get retail back and hospitality back in a meaningful way, where we can have people indoors and outdoors."

Hospitality businesses will not be open to dine-in customers in Melbourne until the last step of the roadmap.

Outdoor sole traders — including gardening, landscaping and garden maintenance businesses — will also be allowed to return to work as long as they adhere to COVID-safe plans.

But different sole traders still cannot work in teams because it was "deemed not safe" by public health officials, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Landscaper Chris Weiss said the industry wanted more clarity on what exactly the risks were, given they worked outside and wore masks.

"We're an outdoor industry, we have zero contact with anybody in an occupied residence," said Landscaping Victoria's Megan Flower.

"So it really beggars belief that we can't have teams working outside."

Mr Guerra said while the second step was a "good start", the industry wanted to see restrictions eased sooner as case numbers were dropping.

He called for regional Victoria to be accelerated to the final "COVID-normal" stage of restrictions, given the low case numbers outside of Melbourne.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said Victorians deserved "a heck of a lot" more than what Sunday's announcement delivered.

Restrictions on religious gatherings relaxed in Melbourne
A ban on religious gatherings has been lifted, but ceremonies will be capped at five people plus one faith leader, and they must take place outdoors.

Rabbi Shneur Reti-Waks said the announcement came too late for Melbourne's Jewish community, in the middle of Yom Kippur.

"I don't think it would make that much of a difference, and it's not a criticism, health comes before anything else," he said.

He has been involved in online ceremonies with Melbourne's Jewish Museum, but he said the community is feeling the loss of personal connection, as Yom Kippur finishes tonight.

"The price for love is loss, and the price for connection is when we're disconnected, we feel that particularly strongly," he said.

But he said the easing of restrictions has come just in time for the next Jewish festival, Sukkot, which starts on Friday night and lasts for eight days. ... d=msedgdhp

Victorians face a $200 fine for wearing the wrong mask
Bandanas, scarfs, undies and face shields are no longer acceptable face coverings in Victoria - and anyone wearing them now risks a fine of $200.

The crackdown on masks comes as Victoria suffered just five new cases of coronavirus on Monday - the lowest number recorded in 107 days.

A Victorian politician exploded with rage on live TV as he slammed Daniel Andrews over his new rules.

Liberal MP Tim Smith said 'we're being muzzled like dogs' after the premier announced $200 fines for anyone not wearing a fitted face mask in public.
Mr Smith, shadow housing minister, told Sky News the rule is unfair on people whose glasses fog up if they wear a fitted mask and said face shields should still be allowed.
Wearing a mask with the word 'Dandemic' inscribed, he said: 'For many people - when they try to go walking as part of their two hours' exercise - their glasses fog up and they can't see where they are going.

'I mean my poor old dad needs to wear one of these shields when he's walking because his glasses fog up and he can't see where he is going.'

'We're being muzzled like dogs because of the Labor Party's incompetence.

Holding up a face shield, he added: 'I'm happy to wear a mask in the supermarket or on public transport - that makes perfect sense - but why can't we wear these while we're walking outside? It's stupid.'

After Mr Smith's furious outburst, Labor councillor Nicholas Reece told him the reason behind the rule was that health experts believe fitted masks are safer.

Premier Andrews said on Sunday: 'With more people moving across our city, our public health team have advised the rules around wearing a mask need to be strengthened.'

Mr Smith also said Victoria's 9pm curfew, which was lifted on Monday morning, should have been removed months ago because it was 'disproportionate'.

Mr Andrews has announced a faster road map for relaxing restrictions which potentially ends lockdown in Melbourne on 19 October instead of 26 October.
The latest deaths take the state toll to 787 and the national figure to 875.

But there were only 6,807 new tests and authorities want to start testing more residents in high risk industries such as aged care and meatworks.

The premier has said repeatedly that tests must stay high for officials to be confident in easing restrictions.

Jeroen Weimar from the Department of Health and Human Services said he was concerned about testing levels across outer regional Victoria.

He said also waste water testing had been expanded and there were now 23 sampling sites across the state.

Mr Weimar said the department had trialled saliva testing with 1,000 Victoria Police officers and picked up one positive case in the Dandenong station.

Mr Weimar said more than 16,000 people in the Dandenong area had been tested in the past two to three weeks, with a 50 per cent increase in one week.

The outbreak has reached 44 cases across eight households.

'It hasn't spread beyond those households,' he said.

Melbourne's all-important rolling new case average is now down to 20.3 and is at 0.6 for regional areas.

There were just 31 cases with an unknown source in Melbourne on September 12-25 and none outside the city. ... d=msedgdhp

Victorian coronavirus hotel quarantine inquiry hears Victoria Police position contributed to 'creeping consensus' on private security
Victoria's hotel quarantine program is responsible for 768 deaths and more than 18,000 infections, the inquiry into the scheme has heard.

Delivering his final submissions, inquiry lawyer Ben Ihle said the program had failed to meet its primary objective, which was to keep the community safe from the virus.

"The program that was intended to contain the disease, was instead a seeding ground for the spread of COVID-19 into the community," Mr Ihle said.

"The failure by the hotel quarantine program to contain this virus is, as at today's date, responsible for the deaths of 768 people and the infection of some 18,418 others.

"One only needs to pause and to reflect on those figures to appreciate the full scope of devastation and despair occasioned as a result of the outbreaks."

The inquiry has previously heard that 90 per cent of the infections in the state's second wave could be traced back to a family of four who served their quarantine period at the Rydges on Swanston hotel.

Earlier today, the inquiry heard Victoria Police's preference for private security to be used in the program contributed to a "creeping assumption" among authorities that the decision had been made.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Rachel Ellyard, said this morning it was "astonishing" that not one senior member of the Victorian Government could determine where the decision originated.

Ms Ellyard said a meeting at the State Control Centre at 4:30pm on March 27 was a major factor in the final determination to use private security.

"It is a conclusion that was arrived at by way of a creeping assumption, that took hold over a period perhaps of a couple of hours, and that wasn't questioned by anyone," Ms Ellyard told the inquiry.

The decision to use private security has been widely blamed for the virus escaping quarantine, causing Victoria's devastating second wave.

Ms Ellyard said evidence showing Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Grainger's preference that private security be used was at odds with evidence given by former Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton who said he was not involved in the decision.

"Mr Ashton's certainty the decision had been made and communicated with him is at odds with the understandings of everyone else at that State Control Centre meeting," she said.

"It is at odds with the way it appears Mr Ashton framed questions at the Victorian Secretaries Board meeting, it is at odds with [Emergency Management Commissioner] Andrew Crisp's text to Assistant Commissioner Grainger."

"And so, it may well be that Mr Ashton is misremembering the sequence of events. But in our submission the Board should not take the view that a final decision had been made either at any time prior to the State Control Centre meeting," Ms Ellyard told the inquiry.

Ms Ellyard stated that the position established by police would have been a significant factor in the ultimate move to engage contractors which she said was not a decision but a "creeping assumption".

"It wasn't Victoria Police's decision … but Victoria Police's clear position expressed in that meeting, that private security would be, in its view or its preference, the appropriate first line of enforcement, has to be understood as a substantial contributing factor to that creeping consensus," Ms Ellyard said.

Ms Ellyard also told the inquiry the Department of Health and Human Services was in charge of the botched program.

She said the department's focus on logistics was too great and the health response was "underdone".

"It did become an example of a poorly managed emergency and the primary reason for that seems to be that DHHS did not sufficiently bring to its management of this public health emergency the health expertise which had been the basis of it being allocated as the control agency."

In earlier submissions this morning, counsel assisting the inquiry Tony Neal QC said no single decision or person caused the failure of the scheme.

Mr Neal said politicians and bureaucrats faced a complex and "unenviable" task when they were given the job of setting up the program in less than two days in late March.

"There was simply not the time to translate a policy into a plan and then realising that plan," Mr Neal told the inquiry.

"An enormous, immediate, unenviable burden was placed on those in public service to establish not one but a succession of infection control facilities in buildings clearly not designed for quarantine purposes," Mr Neal said.


Mr Neal told the head of the inquiry, Jennifer Coate, that 29 hotels were selected by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions as quarantine facilities but only 20 hotels were ultimately used.

He said the Department of Health and Human Services later determined which hotels would be used, adding that the program "failed disastrously in two of those hotels".

"There'll be no suggestion from those assisting that those engaged in setting up this program worked other than with the best of intent or to the best of their ability," he told the inquiry.

"Bad faith or corruption is not what the evidence shows."

"It will be not be suggested that a single decision or a single actor caused the hotel quarantine program to fail in its objective to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community," Mr Neal said.

The $3 million inquiry has heard from more than 50 witnesses, including Premier Daniel Andrews, Cabinet ministers and senior public servants.

On Friday, Mr Andrews told the inquiry that he believed his Health Minister, Jenny Mikakos, was responsible for the program.

She resigned the next day.

Ms Coate has told the inquiry that evidence on "lines of accountability" has been "varied".

She is due to deliver her final report to the Governor of Victoria, Linda Dessau QC, by November 6. ... d=msedgdhp


Melbourne and regional Victoria coronavirus restrictions roadmap — what it says and what life might look like
The Victorian Government has updated its plan to ease Melbourne and regional Victoria out of coronavirus restrictions.

In announcing Melbourne's move to the second step from September 28, Premier Daniel Andrews said the city was at least a week ahead of where earlier modelling predicted.

Future roadmap steps will now be guided by case number targets and public health advice, without needing to wait to meet dates on the calendar.

Face masks look set to remain a fact of life in Victoria for some time, and anyone with symptoms will continue to be urged to get tested as soon as possible.

Here's what the road ahead might look like.

Second step
If you're in regional Victoria, you've already skipped past this step.

For those in metropolitan Melbourne, the second step came into force on September 28.

The citywide curfew has been lifted.

There is still a two-hour limit on time spent outdoors for exercise or recreation, but Melburnians can now exercise within 5 kilometres of their home or their workplace.

Outdoor pools can reopen and while facilities such as tennis courts, golf courses and bowls clubs remain closed, hiking and fishing are allowed within that 5km radius.

You can gather outdoors with up to five people or a household, as long as you're only out of the house for two hours.

Childcare is open for all children.

Specialist schools and primary schools will be back to face-to-face learning by October 12 — earlier than anticipated.

VCE and VCAL students (including Year 10 students doing VCE subjects) will return for assessments from October 5, then will be allowed back in the classroom from October 12.

Restrictions have been partially lifted on a number of workplaces, including childcare, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, postal, distribution, pet grooming and real estate sectors and some health services.

Warehousing, postal and distribution centres, supermarket and food distribution will no longer have to operate with reduced workforces.

The workforce capacity will be increased to 80 per cent for meat and seafood processing, and 90 per cent for poultry.

There have been changes to hospital visiting rules and dentists can resume non-urgent services.

A new fine of nearly $5,000 will be in place for anyone caught having unlawful gatherings.

And across the state, rules have been tweaked on face coverings, banning the use of face shields and tightening the order to clarify people must wear a "fitted face mask that covers [the] nose and mouth".

Third step
Regional Victorians are currently living under third-step conditions.

Sitting in a restaurant, meeting up to 10 people outdoors, kids' sport and travelling for a holiday are all allowed — if you live outside of the Melbourne boundary.

The earliest metropolitan Melbourne will reach the next step will be October 19.

Mr Andrews says that's because there needs to be at least three weeks in between steps, "because decisions made today, the impact in terms of the spread of the virus will not be known to us for at least two to three weeks".

The target for the third step is to have a rolling 14-day case average of five or under and have fewer than five "mystery" cases over a fortnight.

If that target is hit, there will be no restrictions on leaving home.

Public gatherings of up to 10 people or a household will be allowed outdoors.

Melburnians will be able to make a social bubble with another household, allowing up to five people from that household to visit their home.

Retail will reopen, as will hairdressing.

Cafes, restaurants and bars will reopen for onsite dining, but this will mostly be outdoors.

Premier Daniel Andrews has flagged there may be further changes to the roadmap, but under the plan announced on September 13, this third step is set to include:

Melburnians being allowed to travel across the state, except to places with a higher level of restrictions
A staged return of outdoor non-contact sport for adults, and all outdoor sport returning for under 18s with density limits
Outdoor fitness returning with up to 10 people
Outdoor skate parks opening
Up to 10 people being allowed at weddings, up to 20 at funerals, and up to 10 people at outdoor religious gatherings
Further easing on workplace restrictions, including the resumption of full operations in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and warehousing and postal distribution centres
Indoor exercise facilities like gyms opening with heavy restrictions
Elective surgery increasing to 85 per cent of usual activity
Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng says as the rate of infection drops, there is room to be flexible with the targets.

"As numbers trend down, the stories behind these numbers will become more important," he says.

That means health officials will be looking at things like the number of close contacts, testing rates and whether there are contained outbreaks.

But he's warned chance plays much more of a role in the epidemiology as case numbers fall.

And he said health authorities were still conducting research into the risks of having students in years 7 to 10 return to the classroom.

Last step
The state will hit the last step if there have been no new cases in the community for more than 14 days.

The earliest this could be for metropolitan Melbourne is November 9. That's significantly earlier than the November 23 date on the earlier roadmap.

Up to 50 people will be allowed to gather outside, and up to 20 visitors will be allowed to a home.

Adult education will return on site with safety measures in place, but people will still work from home if they can.

There will be no exercise limits, and all sports will resume with spectator limits.

In hospitality, group limits will be capped at 20, with 50 seated diners allowed inside a premises in total.

All retail will be open.

Real estate will be open with record-keeping and safety measures.

Weddings will be allowed to host up to 50 people, or 20 in a home.

Up to 50 people can attend a funeral, or 20 in a private residence.

Religious ceremonies like bat mitzvahs and baptisms can resume with density limits.

People will be allowed to travel across the state.

Tourism and accommodation industries will be able to reopen with restrictions.

For entertainment, there will be density limits and a staged return of events with seated spectators.

Large events will be assessed on an individual basis based on the epidemiology of the day.

Museums and galleries will open, but will be heavily restricted with patron caps in place.

COVID Normal
If there are no new cases for 28 days, no active cases and "no outbreaks of concern" in other states and territories, restrictions will be relaxed further.

There will be no limits on outdoor gatherings or visitors to the home.

All students will return to school, if they haven't already.

Workers will return to workplaces.

No restrictions on hospitality, but patrons' records will be kept by venues.

There will be no limits on weddings and funerals.

Entertainment venues will be open.

When it comes to travel, Melburnians will still be subject to international border controls.

State borders could be closed in case of outbreaks.

All industries will be able to open with a COVID-safe plan. ... d=msedgdhp

Victoria Police will rarely use discretion when issuing $4,957 coronavirus fine for unlawful gatherings in Melbourne
Melburnians have been warned that police will issue a $4,957 fine to anyone caught taking part in an unlawful gathering, except in the most extreme circumstances.

Yesterday, Premier Daniel Andrews said the fine would apply to any gatherings which breached the state's coronavirus health directives. It's an increase from the previous $1,652 fine.

Under Melbourne's restrictions, a maximum of five people from two households (or any number of people from a single household) can gather in public spaces outside.

Visitors are only allowed in homes if they are visiting intimate partners, are part of a single-person bubble or have an essential reason.

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said officers would penalise "anyone" who breached the rules on indoor and outdoor gatherings, and would rarely exercise discretion not to issue fines.

"The risk of spread of coronavirus from group gatherings is significant, the Chief Health Officer has stated that," he said.

"For these reasons … the use of discretion will be only in the most extreme circumstance and very rarely applied."

A fine of the same value is already in place for Melburnians who attempt to travel to regional Victoria without a valid reason.

Commissioner Patton urged any member of the public who suspected there was an unlawful gathering occurring to call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

"It's not 'dobbing in someone', it's actually calling out selfish, arrogant, ignorant behaviour," he said.

"Because that's what it is, where people deliberately put the other people at risk."

He said with warm weather forecast for the coming weekend, there would be increased surveillance in popular public spaces and residential streets.

"They'll be seeing if there's a lot of cars in a street in a particular area outside a residence, we'll be knocking on those doors," he said.

Police discover multiple parties in short-term accommodation
Commissioner Patton said police had interrupted at least 10 separate parties being held at short-term rental properties over the weekend, and issued 93 fines.

He said at one party held on the Surf Coast, a group of adults had installed a jumping castle.

"It's just amazing," he said.

He said there were 40 people at a party at Hoppers Crossing, in the city's west, where police gave out 15 fines.

Under the new rules, those fines would total nearly $75,000.

"That's a heck of a party," he said.

"But we're not going to step away from it, because these are the CHO guidelines and it's absolutely imperative that we enforce them to stop the spread."

When asked if the end of Melbourne's overnight curfew would make the job of police more difficult, Commissioner Patton said the curfew had been "beneficial" because it made it easier for police to target and enforce breaches of the directives.

He said police still had "adequate powers" to do their job, but he would rather see community members keeping one another in check to "do the right thing" than law enforcement being required.

When asked if the nearly $5,000 fine would act as a genuine deterrent for people determined to enjoy a party, Commissioner Patton said he believed it would.

"I think when you put number five with three zeros next to it, it is such a significant hit to the pocket that people will say, 'it's just not worth the risk'," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

Suburbs where people copped the most coronavirus fines (IN NSW & VIC)
A disproportionate number of fines for breaching COVID-19 restrictions are being dished out to the vulnerable members of the community, new data shows.

Statistics obtained under Freedom of Information laws by the Sun-Herald, revealed young disadvantaged Australians, with an immigrant or Indigenous background, have received a greater number of penalties in NSW and Victoria between March 17 to June 28.

The data also showed that suburbs where most fines were handed out, had little correlation to coronations hot spots.

ydney's top five most find suburbs:
Mount Druitt: 77 breach notices

Sydney's CBD: 75 breach notices

Liverpool: 34 breach notices

Potts Point: 29 breach notices

Kempsey: 29 breach notices

Nationwide stay-at-home orders introduced in March by Scott Morrison's government to slow the spread of COVID-19, saw fines for anyone who was outdoors without a valid reason or failing to abide by the 1.5m rule.

The NSW suburbs which received the highest number of $1000 fines for COVID-19 breaches was Mount Druitt, Sydney's CBD, Liverpool, Potts Point and Kempsey.

But the top five areas where fine recipients actually lived was Mount Druitt, Liverpool, Green Valley, Blacktown and Redfern.

In total, NSW dished out 1209 personal infringement notices, along with a further 210 penalties for more serious breaches.

Officers issued 77 fines in Mount Druitt - an area which recorded 19 coronavirus cases and sits in the bottom ten percent of Australia's most socio-economically disadvantaged suburbs, according to official government figures.

The Mid North Coast town of Kempsey, which also sits in the bottom 10 percent, received 28 fines and charges and recorded two cases of coronavirus.
Both of these areas have a higher number of Aboriginal residents compared the national average of 2.9 per cent.

Melbourne's top three most fined postcodes:
Central Goldfields Shire

Greater Dandenong


Mount Druitt has an Indigenous population of 6.8 per cent, while Kempsey has 13.5 per cent.

But in Sydney's exclusive eastern suburbs, where there was an outbreak of infections, the numbers tell a very different story.

Bondi had 112 cases and saw 16 fines given out, while Mosman had no penalty notices issued at all and recorded 41 infections.

Mary-Louise McLaws, a professor of epidemiology at the University of NSW, said authorities should be targeting areas with a higher number of infections.

'You really want the focus to be hotspots,' she said.

'Outbreak managers will get the most benefit if the police target hotspots and those that are living in hotspots need to be advised overtly that this is what will happen.'

NSW Police said fines are issued to people disobeying the rules and that 'statistics did not always convey all relevant information - for example, there were a lot of fines issued in the CBD and Kings Cross because they were places where people gathered'.

But Samantha Lee, a solicitor in the police accountability practice at Redfern Legal Centre said it appears police have been given too much discretion to dish out fines.

'Such discretion often has a detrimental impact on those who are most vulnerable,' she said.

Young people under 30 more likely to be in insecure work, represented half of all breach notices in NSW - 40 per cent were under 25.

Residents in postcodes with a high number of immigrants who can't speak English also revived a higher number of fines.

In Victoria, the state's three most disadvantaged communities made up 10 percent of coronavirus fines, while richer suburbs accounted for less than 2.0 per cent.

In the first two months of lockdown to May 19, Central Goldfields Shire, Greater Dandenong and Brimbank copped 529 fines, The Age reported.

However those living in the state's most advantaged communities - Nillumbik Shire, Bayside and Boroondara - were hit with just 85 breach notices. ... d=msedgdhp

Police crash illegal parties in Victoria
Victoria police have crashed close to a dozen illegal SHARE HOUSE parties on the weekend, many before the curfew had been scrapped. ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:39 am


NSW records no new COVID-19 cases OVERNIGHT AGAIN << :) >>
New South Wales has reported no new coronavirus cases overnight.

The announcement marks the second consecutive day the state has reported zero new infections in both hotel quarantine and the community.

State premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the news did not necessarily mean the state was free of the virus.

'We're making sure that we encourage people to come forward and get tested with even the mildest of symptoms,' she said.

The low figures has encouraged further talks about a trans-Tasman bubble possibly opening up between Australia and New Zealand before Christmas.

Though Ms Berejiklian said she would like to see the internal borders reopened first.

'I would feel more comfortable if we didn't have any borders within Australia, before we did that,' she said.
Sydney residents picnicking at Centennial Park

Ms Berejiklian said she was cautiously watching the number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria.

'We will be interested to see how Victoria fares once these restrictions are eased,' she said.

'I don't want to leave borders open a day longer than we need to, but we also don't want to throw away all the hard work we've done here in NSW.'

A mystery transmission reported in New South Wales on Friday has also threatened to reset the 'border clock' with Queensland.

A southwest Sydney man in his 50s had tested positive to COVID-19.

State premier Gladys Berejiklian said investigations were ongoing.

'They're doing the genomic testing and I will allow Health to reveal what they have investigated there but we haven't given up on finding a link to that case.'

NSW must record 28 days with no community transmissions before its border with Queensland is reopened - a feat Ms Berejiklian has previously described as a 'pretty tall order'.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister has also demanded state leaders open their borders in time for Christmas.

Michael McCormack said it's 'not good enough' that Australians still can't travel within the country despite daily coronavirus cases continuing to plummet.

'We want the Premiers of those states who have still got very tight lockdowns to ease those restrictions,' he told Sunrise on Monday.

'People want to travel, particularly as we approach the warmer months where people want to go on holiday and they want to catch-up with their loved ones over Christmas.

'It's not good enough that we've got tight border restrictions that are preventing many people from travelling where they want to be around this great nation.'

Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania all still have 'hard' border closures in place, while Victorians must undergo hotel quarantine if they are granted an exemption to leave the state.

Mr McCormack said airlines had been smashed by coronavirus lockdowns and border closures.

'Uncertainty affects the ability of airlines and airports to plan for recovery and undermines consumer confidence, which amounts to a significant cost to industry and ultimately the Australian economy,' he said. ... 19tXoa_1|1

New South Wales Health pushes MORE testing as school holidays begin
New South Wales Health has revealed concerns over the state's testing rate, urging people to continue getting tested for the mildest symptoms as school holidays kick off across the state.

he last two 24-hour reporting periods revealed only 12300 tests were conducted, while the number of tests sat above 20000 per day a few weeks ago.

The state reported no new coronavirus cases on Sunday, marking the first time of zero new daily cases since June 10.

On 5 of the last 7 days, NSW also reported no locally acquired cases.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard praised the community’s effort via Twitter, but warned there was “no room for complacency” as there was still no treatment and no vaccine.

New South Wales Health has revealed concerns over the state's testing rate, urging people to continue getting tested for the mildest symptoms as school holidays kick off across the state. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW Covid hotspots: list of Sydney and regional case locations
List of case locations in NSW
If you were at the following venues on these dates you must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, even if your test is negative.

Campbelltown Golf Club, Glen Alpine: 2pm to 4.30pm on Wednesday 16 September for a least one hour
Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill, Mollymook: 12.30pm to 2.15pm on Sunday 13 September for a least one hour
Carlo’s Italian Ristorante Bar & Seafood, Ulladulla: 8pm to 9:30pm on Saturday 12 September
Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Club, Ulladulla: 2pm to 6:15pm on Saturday 12 September
With the growing number of cases in the area, NSW Health is asking all people who live in, or have visited, the following areas in the past two weeks to get tested if they have any symptoms of Covid-19 at all, even the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

Bankstown (suburb)
Blue Mountains
Cumberland local government area (LGA)
Fairfield LGA
Hunters Hill LGA
Liverpool LGA
Parramatta LGA
If you were at any of the following locations or travelled by taxi or rideshare during the time and date indicated, monitor yourself for symptoms and self-isolate and get tested if symptoms occur.

Wray St Oyster Shed, Batemans Bay: 12pm to 1pm on Saturday 12 September
Woolworths, Campbelltown Mall: 1.30pm to 2pm on Thursday 17 September
Anytime Fitness, Casula: 10.15am to 12pm on Friday 11 September
Five Stars Thaitanic, Casula: 4.20pm to 5.20pm on Saturday 12 September
Campbelltown Golf Club course, Glen Alpine: 9.30am to 2pm on Wednesday 16 September
Moorebank Sports Club, Hammondville: Evening of Monday 14 September
Lawson oval, Lawson: 10.30am to 12.45 pm on Sunday 13 September
Picnic Point Bowling Club, Panania: 3pm to 6pm on Friday 18 September
JB HIFI Penrith Plaza, Penrith: 4pm to 4.30pm on Sunday 13 September
Springwood Sports Club, Springwood: 1pm to 2pm on Saturday 12 September
Taxis and rideshare

Thursday 10 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping Norton, Burwood, Casula, Liverpool

2:38pm from Liverpool to Graham Avenue Casula, arriving 2:44pm
7:15pm from Haddenham Street Chipping Norton to George Street Burwood, arriving 7:48pm
Monday 14 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping North to Milperra

3:50pm from Riverside Road Chipping Norton to The Mill Hotel Milperra, arriving 4:04pm
Tuesday 15 September – Silver Service taxi: Chipping Norton, Lidcombe, Milperra

8:31am from Riverside Road Chipping Norton to Birnie Avenue Lidcombe, arriving 9:11am
10:14am from Milperra to Riverside Road Chipping Norton, arriving 10:25am
3:22pm from Birnie Avenue Lidcombe to Riverside Road Chipping Norton, arriving 4:07pm ... d=msedgdhp

Free masks for Sydney's disadvantaged
More than 20,000 free, reusable face masks are being distributed to people living in Sydney's social housing estates, boarding houses and rough sleepers.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the $200,000 initiative was part of the council's commitment to working with NSW Health to beat COVID-19.

"When maintaining physical distancing is hard, we should all be wearing a face mask. But not everyone is able to buy them," Ms Moore said in a statement on Monday.

"The City of Sydney has purchased cloth reusable masks for the most vulnerable in our community - rough sleepers, people in social housing and boarding houses," she aid.

The masks are made from three ply material and meet the guidelines produced by the World Health Organisation.

The council worked with Australian manufacturer ClothMaskMe which provided the masks at cost price.

Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson, applauded the move.

"More than 13,000 people across Sydney and South Eastern Sydney local health districts are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless, and we have many people living in social housing, or struggling financially due to job losses related to the pandemic.

"During COVID-19, we've worked hard to ensure the safety of these communities by running free wellness clinics in disadvantaged areas, and sending our flying squad of nurses into boarding houses to test residents. We have also been running free influenza clinics and handing out sanitiser and masks," she said. ... d=msedgdhp

Experts warn of a spider outbreak as temperatures begin to soar
Australians have been warned to keep an eye out for dangerous spiders as the mercury begins to rise ahead of summer.

Lauren Merritt from Darwin, was horrified to see almost 20 venomous mouse spiders lying on the bottom of her pool over several days last week.

Experts have urged residents to keep a distance from the unwanted visitors explaining that while many were found underwater, most were likely still alive.

Julian Bracewell from Pest2Kill, a pest control company in Sydney's eastern suburbs said September to May was their busiest season for spider sightings.

He said it was common for Mouse spiders to fall into swimming pools, but warned the creatures can usually survive.

'They're not always dead, they can stay alive for quite some time - up to 24 hours,' Mr Bracewell told Daily Mail Australia.

'A lot of people confuse Mouse spiders for Funnel Webs because they're very similar looking and are ground dwelling as well.'

Mouse spiders are found across Australia and have similar physical characteristics to Funnel Webs - which have fatal bites.

They can grow up to 35mm long and their bites can cause severe pain and serious illness.

Often found in more bushy environments, Mouse spiders live across the country.

Mr Bracewell said as it begins to heat up over the coming months, more people will see the creatures making their way into their homes and backyards.

Mouse spiders are venomous to humans with bites causing severe pain and illness

They can grow up to 35mm long and can survive underwater for up to 24 hours

Mouse spiders are often found during the warmer months as they try to find mates

They are found across Australia but usually in areas with dense bushland

Mouse spiders are often confused with Funnel Webs but are not considered as dangerous to people

'Mouse spiders aren't as aggressive as Funnel Webs but they are venomous so handle with care and use gloves or a pool cleaner,' he said.

'A bite is pretty painful and will cause illness to young children. It's similar to a Redback, their fangs are pretty long and anyone bitten should be taken to hospital.'

The pest control expert said there were steps to ensure homes were safe from spiders, but stressed it was a bad idea to try and remove them alone.

'If you're gardening use proper gloves. Hose down children's toys as we often find Redbacks hidden in toys outside,' he said.

'Keep you garden maintenance up to scratch, ponds and stagnant water can attract flies and mosquitoes which spiders eat.

'If you see burrows in your garden call an expert. I wouldn't handle that yourself.'

Around 1,000 Australians visit hospitals every year for spider bites.

There's been just one death from a spider within the last 37 years.

Jayden Burleigh, 22, died after he was bitten in April, 2016 by a Redback while walking through a bush-walk in NSW's north coast


Stakes are high as inquiry tosses up whether Crown Resorts is fit to hold a NSW casino licence
As a casino operator, Crown Resorts knows a thing or two about high stakes.

But what’s unfolding at the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority inquiry into the suitability of Crown to hold the high-roller casino licence at Barangaroo in Sydney is enough to make even a seasoned gambler sweat.

Allegations of money laundering through cash accounts operated by Crown, bags of cash being deposited in the high-roller room, and organised crime links within Crown’s junket partners that recruit high rollers are a daily occurrence.

Witness after witness has acknowledged failings in Crown’s anti-money laundering regime. The inquiry has seen videos of cash being handed over in the high-roller rooms of Crown Melbourne, and been told about major banks refusing to deal with accounts associated with the Perth and Melbourne casinos because of concerns about structured cash deposits apparently designed to avoid reporting requirements.
When these allegations were first publicly aired by the Nine media group last year, Crown hit back hard, running a full page ad disputing the claims and branding it a “deceitful campaign”. But now that too could come back to haunt Crown.

Related: Crown casino inquiry told James Packer given secret financial forecasts before share sale

At stake in the inquiry is whether Crown Resorts, an ASX-listed company, remains a suitable enterprise to hold a casino licence in NSW.

But it is also unearthing evidence that will again ignite questions about the corporate governance of Crown – long a concern for investors.

James Packer, the company’s major shareholder who lives in the US and is rarely seen these days, will give evidence by video link next week.

So will Crown’s high-profile directors who include former Liberal senator Helen Coonan – now Crown’s chair – former public servant, Jane Halton, and former AFL boss, Andrew Demetriou.

Money laundering, junkets and high rollers
This week Crown’s mild-mannered bespectacled chief executive, Ken Barton, who was elevated to the top job in January after nearly a decade as the company’s chief financial officer, has been the centre of attention.

Barton has faced a barrage of questions about practices within Crown Melbourne that expose the casino to allegations of turning a blind eye to money laundering.

“Isn’t it right that in the Suncity room, Crown turned a blind eye to the prospect of money laundering taking place at that cash desk?” counsel assisting the inquiry, Naomi Sharp SC, asked.

This, in effect, has really reached the debacle level

Naomi Sharp SC
“I’m not – I’m not familiar with what the activities were at the cash desk in that period,” Barton replied.

“But you’re the CEO of this organisation and you’re coming here today to explain to this inquiry why, firstly, you were suitable to remain a close associate of the Sydney licensee and, secondly, why Crown Resorts is suitable to remain a close associate of the Sydney licensee. Do you understand?” she asked.

“I understand that,” Barton replied.

Crown eventually closed Suncity’s cash desk after it discovered $5.6m of cash stored in a cupboard in March 2018. Such an inordinate amount of cash, its top anti-money laundering officer Joshua Preston said, set “money-laundering alarms ringing”.

The commissioner presiding over the inquiry, former supreme court judge Patricia Bergin SC, has been unable to hide her feelings.

“The irresistible conclusion is that nothing works. This went on for years,” she said.

“This went on from ’13, ’14, ’15, ’16 through to ’19 and nobody – and now Mr Barton is seeing things for the first time in this inquiry. This, in effect, has really reached the debacle level.

“It is very, very troubling. I mean, Mr Barton has made a lot of concessions but at the moment it is just extraordinarily troubling.”

Governance, disclosure and directors’ duties
There have been other revelations that raise serious questions about statements made to shareholders.

The inquiry was played a recording of Crown’s October 2019 AGM, during which shareholder activist Stephen Mayne asked the group’s independent directors to explain what information Crown shared with Packer, including if he was “selectively briefed” or received any “special treatment”.

Barton, then Crown’s chief financial officer, answered on their behalf by explaining that Crown shared information with Packer’s private company, Consolidated Press Holding (CPH), to provide some services to the group under a long disclosed agreement.

However, he did not tell the meeting Packer was not allowed to receive company information under that agreement, nor did he mention that a separate “controlling shareholder protocol” was put in place for sharing information with Packer in 2018, after he resigned as a Crown and CPH director.

The inquiry heard Packer received daily briefings under the protocol.

“Why didn’t you just tell the truth?” Bergin asked Barton. He agreed in hindsight it might have been better.

The briefings that Packer received included draft financial results.

So what’s at stake?
Bergin has been asked by the NSW authority that issued the high-roller casino licence to inquire into whether the licensee, Crown Sydney, remains suitable to operate a high-roller casino at Barangaroo.

Bergin makes a recommendation to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, which in theory, makes an independent determination on what to do.

The options include do nothing, impose conditions on the licence or direct that actions be taken to ensure the licensee becomes suitable by, for instance, changing the board or key personnel.

Or Bergin could reach for the nuclear option and revoke the licence altogether.

That option, almost unthinkable when the inquiry began, has loomed into prospect, as the allegations of money laundering and other serious breaches of gambling laws mount up.

Since the inquiry, the terms of a financial deed between the NSW government and Crown, signed in 2014 when Mike Baird was premier, has also come to light.

Under the deed, Crown is entitled to claim compensation worth 10.5 times the estimated negative financial impact from almost “any action” the NSW government takes which changes, or has the effect of changing, its licence.

Crown can claim the same compensation for any government action which has a material negative impact on its “assets, liabilities, properties ... operating results, operations, reputation or prospects”, the deed says.

The minimum compensation payable is $200m.

This could mean that if conditions are placed on the licence that have a financial impact – such as banning Crown dealing with junket operators in future – the taxpayer could be up for a $200m-plus payout.

For this reason alone, the NSW government is likely to have some input in what the regulator does.

But the deed does allow the government to cancel or revoke the licence where there is a finding that the licensee is “no longer suitable” under the provisions of the Casino Control Act.

Crown executives have announced that Barangaroo in Sydney will open ahead of the planned February 2021 date and will open in December.

This will focus the minds of politicians on the implications of any finding by Bergin.

Crown is promising that the casino and six-star hotel complex will be a major employer and a significant driver of tourism – if and when foreign tourists are again able to enter Australia.

Why don’t you just stop dealing with [high rollers]?

Naomi Sharp SC
One possible option, which was suggested to Guardian Australia by experts in gaming law, is to revoke the licence and reissue it with more stringent conditions.

But could the NSW government again simply hand the licence to interests associated with Packer or Crown, without calling for expressions of interest as it did in 2012?

Whatever happens, a new licence or a substantially constrained one, is likely to reopen the whole debate about the viability of a high-roller casino after Covid-19.

The issue of poker machines at the second casino would most likely surface again.

Consequences, consequences
Bergin’s terms of reference also invite her to recommend to the NSW government on the effectiveness of the Casino Control Act.

But in practical terms there may be major constraints to changing the casino laws that cover both Crown and Star.

The Crown deed restricts the state from taking any action, including the amendment or introduction of legislation or regulations that either changes its licences or has a material effect on its profits, except in some very minor areas such as parking fees or laws that apply to all businesses in NSW.

Related: Crown casino inquiry chair tells CEO money laundering allegations 'extraordinarily troubling'

Bergin was also interested in how important junkets were to Crown. When she was told that high rollers contributed just 7% towards Crown’s profits, she suggested: “Why don’t you just stop dealing with them?”

However, high rollers from overseas are likely to be a much more important part of the Sydney casino’s business and banning junkets could have a major impact.

Asic declined to comment on the testimony and evidence emerging during the inquiry.

“As a matter of course, Asic is always able to review both disclosure and trading around any significant events and announcements, and often does,” it said. “It would be inappropriate to comment further.”’ ... d=msedgdhp

Patrick Terminals tries to shut down wharf strikes as PM lashes maritime union
Patrick Terminals has launched a bid to terminate maritime union strikes across Australia that have been blamed for delays at Sydney’s Port Botany.

After the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) notified the stevedores it intended to strike for 24 hours in Brisbane and Port Botany on Friday, the company hit back with an application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate its industrial action.

The aggressive response follows seven months of bargaining over a new pay deal in which the MUA has asked for 6% pay rises for four years.

Related: Industrial reforms at risk as talks between unions and employer groups break down

The MUA reached in-principle agreement with DP World on Friday, but at Patrick the dispute is heating up, with the prime minister, Scott Morrison, weighing in to accuse the union of holding Australia’s imports and exports to ransom.

Patrick has asked the federal government to intervene in the case, after the industrial relations minister, Christian Porter, said the action was “of considerable concern” to the government.

Porter told Guardian Australia on Monday the government “is considering whether to intervene in support of Patrick’s application, should it be deemed necessary to protect the broader economy from further harm”.

“This is not the time to be seeking to leverage Covid-caused weakness in critical supply chains for bargaining leverage in what could be very damaging industrial action for our entire country.”

The MUA has been pursuing its claims at terminals in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Fremantle with a range of industrial action, including bans on overtime and workers acting in more senior positions.

Patrick blames the MUA for delays of more than 18 days for a berth in Sydney, compared with nine in Melbourne and Brisbane.

But the MUA national secretary, Paddy Crumlin, angrily rejected claims that “limited, legal forms of industrial action” – including a single four-hour stoppage at Port Botany – were capable of causing the delays.

Patrick’s application to the Fair Work Commission argues the industrial action is causing “significant damage to the Australian economy or an important part of it” – including stevedoring, agriculture and retail trade.

It estimated that about $165.6m of imports and $66.9m of exports a day was disrupted and “at least 5%” of the value of that trade was wiped out by delays.

Related: Qantas must pass on full jobkeeper subsidy to workers, federal court rules

The company also cited “potential disruption to the import of essential supplies”, despite the fact the MUA offered to help ensure medical supplies were not affected by industrial action.

Patrick submitted the MUA “shows no sign of compromising” and asked the commission to pursue the nuclear option of terminating strikes because it could have “no confidence” that merely suspending industrial action would help reach a deal.

Patrick’s chief executive, Michael Jovicic, said: “Port Botany is running three weeks behind schedule and our Melbourne terminal more than a week.

“We now have close to 90,000 containers being held up and there’s no end in sight. Frankly, enough is enough.”

On Saturday Morrison also accused the MUA of “holding the country to ransom” and delaying farm exports.

“At a time when we are in a Covid national recession, the worst elements of the union movement and the militancy of the MUA is on display,” he told the South Australian Liberal conference. ... d=msedgdhp


Queensland records zero new coronavirus cases, Premier says confidence returning to tourism sector
Queensland has recorded zero new cases of coronavirus overnight, leaving eight active cases across the state.

Testing numbers were down to 1,800 overnight prompting authorities to encourage anyone with any symptoms to be tested.

It has now been 18 days since Queensland last recorded a case that posed a risk of community transmission.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk congratulated Queensland for that achievement.

"This is fantastic news," she said.

"I think it gives Queenslanders the confidence they need to get out there during school holidays and make the most of it.

"We still want to see our test results higher, if we can.

"Once again, if anyone has symptoms they should go and get tested."

Tourism picking up
The Premier said confidence was returning to the tourism sector.

"A lot of people are out there supporting our tourism operators who have been doing it tough, so this is fantastic news for them," Ms Palaszczuk said.

A raft of restrictions were eased across the state at the weekend, with visitors now allowed to attend hospital and nursing homes, and a maximum of 30 people permitted at private gatherings.

Queensland also reopened its border to ACT residents, who can now enter the state by air without quarantining, provided they have not visited a COVID-declared hotspot in the previous fortnight.

From Thursday morning, residents from the New South Wales local government areas of
Byron Bay,
Richmond Valley,
Glen Innes
and Ballina will also be allowed to enter Queensland << WITHOUT NEEDING TO GO INTO 14 DAYS SELF FUNDED HOTEL QUARANTINE. ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland Covid hotspots: list of Brisbane and south-east Qld case locations
Hotspots and case locations
Anyone who has been to these suburbs in the last 14 days should monitor their health and if they develop any Covid-19 symptoms, even mild, get tested and isolate until they receive their test result.

Redbank Plains ... d=msedgdhp


Pensioners demand action on 'unfair' lifestyle village rent hikes
Queensland pensioners living in lifestyle villages are demanding action from the government, following an extensive investigation into the multi-billion-dollar industry by 9News.

Residents claim park owners are unfairly jacking up their rents, while others allege big corporations are failing to honour their rental contracts.

"When you move into a village like this, you move in for retirement, you don't move in to fight battles in QCAT or a court of law," Paul Miller, a resident at Regal Waters in Bethania, said.

Paul Miller moved into the lifestyle village 15 years ago with his wife, but earlier this year Sheila passed away.

Mr Miller asked operators, Hometown Australia, for a rent decrease from a dual occupancy rate to a single rate, as per his original site agreement — roughly $10 less a week for the pensioner.

"I got a reply back saying — not in these words, but more or less implying — tough luck old son, you're paying the dual occupancy," Mr Miller said.

Neighbour Marcelle Howden lost her husband earlier this year, but she won't be getting the single occupancy discount either.

"Very hard, very hard, to talk about," Ms Howden told 9News.

"It was in the contract, it's the principle more than anything too."

Hometown Australia rejects that, telling 9News they're "genuinely sympathetic" to the losses felt by Mr Miller and Ms Howden, but claims, the "single occupancy rate… is a complex and technical legal issue", and reducing rent "is unfair to their fellow home owners."

Both residents are disputing the increases through the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

"The dispute process is long and drawn out, and can in fact take up to 12 (to) 18 months for a conclusion," Noel Wright, from the Associated Residential Parks of Queensland, says.

"And as soon as the park owner issues a notice of increase from a date, the homeowner is required to pay that whether it is right or wrong, adequate or inequitable, until there is a resolution in QCAT."

That process is exactly what 103 residents at Burpengary Pines Village, who are disputing a rental increase and a charge for excess water, are going through.

"That's $2.16 a week for the whole year," resident Lyn Webber-Hill told 9News.
Residents claim the increases are unjustified. A year later, they're still going through the QCAT process, waiting for a hearing date.

"The dispute resolution process is not fair," Mr Webber-Hill said.

More than 40,000 Queenslanders live in lifestyle villages across Queensland. and many claim the rental increases come so often at lifestyle villages across the state that some are having to choose between buying their medication or food each week so they can still pay their rent.

In response, management for Pines Village called residents' claims "unsubstantiated" and said that "there are appropriate dispute resolutions processes available to them through QCAT".

Lawyer and former president of the Queensland Law Society Bill Potts says QCAT is underfunded and is calling for an independent umpire to deal with the industry.

"The re-locatable homes legislation needs to have a proper power within it for an inspector or an ombudsman to ensure any rental rise is fair," Mr Potts told 9News.

That suggestion is something Queensland's Minister for Housing, Mick De Brenni, is willing to look into if he's re-elected in this year's state election.

"I think it's high time for a root and branch overhaul of that legislation to provide seniors with the sorts of protections they deserve," Mr De Brenni told 9News.

"We've seen, over the last couple of years in particular, multinationals come in and buy these communities out and then treat the residents abhorrently."

Mr Potts says the government is failing residents.

"The government has a general obligation to provide cheap and affordable housing to the people, it's not doing that," he said.

Hometown Australia told 9News it's "committed to working with its home owners as well as the regulator on any concerns these important stakeholders may have."

Full statement from Hometown Australia
We are genuinely sympathetic to the experiences of our home owners when their loved one passes.

We understand that it is a very difficult time and most certainly do not want to add an additional burden.

However, we have spoken with these parties at length and explained the conditions of their agreement.

The single occupancy rate issue is one that we have mediated with home owners in the past. While it is a complex and technical legal issue, it is the responsibility of the park owner to consider the impact and fairness to other home owners if it attempts to reduce site rents in this way.

We are honouring the terms of our site agreements and adhering to the applicable legislation.

We have had clear communication with the home owners' committee on this issue, including the Chairperson of the committee who is representing one of the home owners at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal ("QCAT").

In our experience, the QCAT process has generally provided a fair outcome for both home owners and park owners across the industry.

One of the considerations of the park owner is the range of site rents being paid by all home owners across the community when considering whether it is fair to consent to a reduction for an individual home owner.

We can confirm that the current market site rent payable for home owners at our

Bethania park is $177.50 per week. In some instances, those who are seeking to reduce their site rent may be already paying a significantly lower site rent of around $20.00 per week. We see this as unfair to their fellow home owners.

As confirmed by Nine News Brisbane in a story which went to air on 16 July 2020, we have had an increase in charges levied on us by the local council, despite this we have recently advised home owners that we will not pass on the special increase of $5.50 per week.

We have absorbed this cost in good faith, with the interests of all home owners in mind.

We are committed to working with our home owners to improve the services and facilities as well as the overall amenity of the park at Bethania.

In addition to the typical increase in operating expenses, in the first year after acquisition, we have spent approximately $30,000.00 on refurbishment of the community hall and gymnasium, including new shade sails over the swimming pool.

In the second year of our operation we have spent approximately an additional $46,000.00 on large infrastructure upgrades as well as further work to the swimming pool, increased street lighting and a bowling green upgrade.

These are all items that have undoubtedly benefited and assisted our home owners. As proven to date, we will continue to work with our home owners to improve all the communities in our portfolio.

As mentioned in our previous communications, Hometown Australia Communities is a proud Australian company that is committed to working with its home owners as well as the regulator on any concerns these important stakeholders may have. ... d=msedgdhp

Queensland renters left in the cold as end of eviction moratorium and jobkeeper cuts collide
Greg received a letter from his landlord last week, demanding unpaid rent and threatening to send around debt collectors.

The father of five from Brisbane has lost his sources of income during the pandemic. On Monday he will lose $300 a fortnight in jobkeeper payments. And two days later – when Queensland lifts its coronavirus eviction moratorium – Greg and his family expect to be ordered to leave.

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a house with a city in the background: Photograph: Darren England/AAP© Provided by The Guardian Photograph: Darren England/AAP
Greg received a letter from his landlord last week, demanding unpaid rent and threatening to send around debt collectors.

The father of five from Brisbane has lost his sources of income during the pandemic. On Monday he will lose $300 a fortnight in jobkeeper payments. And two days later – when Queensland lifts its coronavirus eviction moratorium – Greg and his family expect to be ordered to leave.

a house with a city in the background: Queensland is extending an eviction moratorium for commercial tenants but not for residential tenants, who will be even more vulnerable when jobkeeper cuts take effect next week.© Photograph: Darren England/AAP Queensland is extending an eviction moratorium for commercial tenants but not for residential tenants, who will be even more vulnerable when jobkeeper cuts take effect next week.
“I’m a personal trainer and I develop software, which at the start of the year was starting to do really well,” says Greg, whose family also runs a hair salon.

“From that position at the beginning of the year, we’ve been nearly wiped out. The personal training has gone, software has gone and the hair salon has lost 95% of its income.

“We kept paying rent for a while even though we had no income. But when we couldn’t pay the rent [the landlord] played hardball with us all the way down the line. He will not give any quarter.”

Queensland this month announced it would extend an eviction moratorium for commercial tenants until the end of the year, but the residential protections will be lifted on 30 September.

Related: 'The decrease in the Covid supplement is a sentence to poverty, for me and many others' | Aidan, Freya, Jess and Jade

Every other state has extended their moratorium. Last week, community organisations, health services and unions signed an open letter asking for it to be extended, fearing a spike in evictions and homelessness among people still affected by the pandemic.

Many renters who were either unable to negotiate a rental reduction with a landlord – or who agreed to pay arrears – now fear they are at risk.

Greg’s wife is sight-impaired. He sent the Guardian photographs of mould and long-overdue repairs at the property, including a broken sewerage system, which he says the landlord has refused to address. Greg coughs as he speaks and is worried the mould and sewerage issues are affecting his family’s health.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal awarded Greg and his family a $100-a-week rental reduction, but the decision meant he was liable for unpaid rent dating back to March.

Ten days ago he received a “letter of demand” for the unpaid rent. A week ago, the landlord threatened debt collectors.

“We’d happily go somewhere else, but we can’t afford to. I cannot for the life of me understand why we are the only state that is lifting the moratorium.”

Joanne Harding-Smith has run Maverick Travel at Sanford near Brisbane for the past 15 years. Her income reduced by 97.3% during the pandemic. Jobkeeper payments are keeping the lights on in the shop; she has dipped into superannuation to keep food on the table for her two children.

“My lease was up on 10 July, so straight away I knew because of the moratorium I had until 30 September,” she says.

“Eventually [the landlord] offered a $50 rent reduction and I said that’s not enough, I can’t afford to pay. I said I’m happy to add a clause that I’ll pay you when I can, but that wasn’t good enough.”

Harding-Smith and her landlord went to Qcat, which assessed her as being Covid-affected but ordered her to cover unpaid rent.

With the end of the moratorium looming and expecting to be evicted, Harding-Smith moved in with a friend at the weekend.

“I’ve come to an arrangement with a friend of mine and that’s nice for me, but other people aren’t so fortunate. They think because they put these emergency measures in place, they’re being followed. They are not.

“You can’t make do when the borders are closed and 97% of your income is gone.”

Queensland already allows for “no fault” evictions, meaning that in many cases, where leases have expired, landlords can act unilaterally. The moratorium had only been in place for people who could prove they had been affected by the pandemic, and social services organisations say there is no reason that cannot remain in place as a safety net for those who remain unable to pay.

“These regulations are not generic, they protect people who can prove they’ve been impacted by Covid,” says Aimee McVeigh, the chief executive officer of the Queensland Council of Social Services.

“We’re nowhere near through the economic health crisis – arguably we’re at the very beginning. Jobkeeper is masking the levels of unemployment. We’re walking into more difficult economic times and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

“It’s really difficult to understand [the lifting of the moratorium] given there’s no evidence that Queensland renters are in a better situation. It’s absolutely impossible to tell how many people are going to be affected, all we can look at are the risk factors, and those factors are growing while they’re taking the protection away.”

The state had established a housing security subcommittee and the majority of organisations represented – QCOSS, Queensland Shelter and Tenants Queensland – wanted the moratorium extended. The Real Estate Institute of Queensland was the only group on the committee who supported the end of the protections.

“A return to rent normality is a positive sign for Queensland’s property market and in particular property investors, many who have faced extremely tough financial difficulties,” REIQ chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella says.

“[It] is also a strong indicator that we’re starting to navigate through to the other side of this pandemic.”

Related: Can Annastacia Palaszczuk hold on to 'fortress Queensland' in the Covid election?

“What’s more, jobkeeper and jobseeker payments will still provide tenants with the ability to cover rental expenses without accumulating any deferred debt which is a further positive outcome. Queensland still remains one of the most affordable places to rent.”

The state housing minister, Mick de Brenni, says protections would remain in place, including to stop tenants being listed on a database for unpaid rent; allowing tenants experiencing domestic violence to end their lease quickly; and relaxed repair and maintenance obligations.

“The freeze on evictions was important in the residential sector when movement in Queensland was much more restricted,” he said in a statement announcing the lifting of the moratorium.

“Because of our strong health response, we’ve been able to keep the economy more open and we’ve already started delivering Queensland’s plan for economic recovery.”

De Brenni also says the volume of calls to the Residential Tenancies Authority had reduced since earlier this year.

“With the Australian property market expected to continue to change over the next period, we’re asking all parties to continue to work together.”

McVeigh says both the federal and state governments had acted swiftly at the outset of the pandemic to keep people out of poverty.

“But [the lifting of the eviction moratorium] is a bad decision. That September cliff everyone has been talking about is here.

“They are extraordinary times and in extraordinary times we need extraordinary measures.” ... d=msedgdhp

Women who brought COVID back to Queensland granted bail again
Three women who sparked fears of a second wave of coronavirus in Queensland after they allegedly lied their way across the state's closed borders will remain on bail.

Diana Lasu, 21 and Olivia Winnie Muranga, 19 are accused of lying on their border declarations about where they had been when they arrived in Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21.

Police allege the women hosted an Airbnb party in a Melbourne apartment despite the city being in hard lockdown at the time and grappling with a devastating COVID-19 outbreak.

Upon returning home, both Lasu and Muranga developed symptoms and were tested for COVID-19, but allegedly carried on working, socialising and dining out at cocktail bars while waiting for their test results.

Haja Umu Timbo, 21, is accused of travelling with both women but never tested positive to COVID-19.

All three women appeared in Brisbane Magistrate's Court on Monday charged with one count of fraud and deception each.
Each of the women arrived at the Roma Street courthouse separately on Monday morning.

Lasu and Muranga sat side by side when they arrived in the court room with their lawyers, while Timbo sat on the opposite end of the room alongside her father.

Lawyers for Lasu and Muranga separately asked the magistrate to adjourn the matters until October 28 to allow time for case conferencing with prosecutors.

He granted the women an extension to their current bail conditions and set the new court date.

Meanwhile Timbo's lawyer asked for her matter to be adjourned until October 21, and made a point to the judge that the women had been charged separately.

'It is somewhat connected but they are not charged together, they do not have to appear together,' she told the court.

Timbo was also granted bail and does not have to appear alongside her lawyer when the matter returns to court on October 21.

After leaving the courtroom, Muranga and Lasu joined their family members and spoke quietly among themselves while waiting to sign their new bail documents.
Timbo, meanwhile, walked past the group wordlessly to sit with her lawyer and father.

The 21-year-old was the first to speak publicly after she was identified as the third woman involved in the alleged COVID-19 health breach.

She denied media reports surrounding the incident but wouldn't clarify what actually happened.

'No, but half of the things that are in the media aren't true, so what can you do,' she previously told the Courier Mail.

'I want everything to be confidential. I don't want to be in the media.'

The trio eventually left the court one by one, flanked by family and their respective lawyers.

All parties refused to make a comment on the charges.

The women have previously claimed they became the target of vicious trolling when the public learned of their alleged border breaches.

Lasu revealed she received messages which read: 'Black lives matter, but not yours' in the days to follow.

.Some devolved into racist name-calling and attacks on her physical appearance including references to potential cosmetic surgery she may have received.

'Your lips are bigger than your ego, << BLEEP>> Looks like your botox injection penetrated into your tiny brain.'

While Queensland avoided a widespread outbreak, the consequences of the women's actions could have been catastrophic.

Queensland's Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called the pair 'reckless' and said she was 'very disappointed' that they'd allegedly made the decision to lie and jeopardise the safety of all Queenslanders.

'They went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful and deceptive and quite frankly criminal in their behaviour and that is what has put the community at risk,' Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said at the time.

Victoria was in the grips of its second wave - with more than 700 cases identified each day at the peak - while the Sunshine State had almost entirely eradicated the virus at the time.

But when word spread that the duo had tested positive for the virus, officials feared a second outbreak was inevitable.

Queensland has since experienced small coronavirus clusters, but managed to avoid widespread infections like in Victoria or New South Wales.

There have been reports that three of Queensland's biggest and latest clusters in Queensland Corrective Services Academy, Brisbane Youth Detention Centre and Ipswich Hospital, can be traced back to the women.

Dr Young said 'that is the most likely scenario... and even more likely after doing more testing and not finding any other chains of transmission.

But there is a missing link between the women and the cluster, which includes more than 50 cases.

'We didn't find the first cases in this cluster, we found a subsequent case and that's why it's taken longer to get on top of it.'

July 21 - Olivia Winnie Muranga flies into Brisbane from Melbourne via Sydney on July 21 with Diana Lasu and an unidentified friend

July 24 - Muranga, a cleaner, allegedly calls in sick to Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of Brisbane after going to work for two days

July 25 - Muranga goes to the doctor and is told to get tested

July 27 - She finally gets tested, but is spotted getting a drink with a friend within hours at the Cowch dessert cocktail bar on Brisbane's Southbank

July 27-29 - Muranga is allegedly active in the community again

July 29 - Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announces two women who allegedly lied on their declaration forms to enter the state have tested positive for COVID-19

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young called the pair 'reckless' and said she was 'very disappointed'.

July 30 - Three women are charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents and fraud

The trio have been charged with one count each of providing false or misleading documents and fraud.

Lasu's mother earlier denied her daughter did anything wrong, instead pointing the blame at Muranga.

'She didn't go to Melbourne, she went to Sydney,' she told media at the time.

'I don't have any apologies for anyone - believe me.'

The mother, who was required to undergo hotel quarantine as a close contact, said her daughter's friend had been in Melbourne.

'If you know, yourself, you have the virus - why didn't you directly go to the doctor?' she said, referring to Muranga.

Lasu and Muranga were under police guard in Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital after they tested positive, partly for their own protection.

Public outrage only intensified when footage emerged showing Muranga casually ordering a drink at the Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar on Brisbane's Southbank with a friend just hours after she was tested for the virus.

The venue was one of 11 visited by the women while infectious.

Before that, Muranga had allegedly gone to work for two days at Parklands Christian College in Park Ridge, south of the city before calling in sick.

She went to the doctor on Saturday and was told to get tested immediately, but she allegedly waited until Monday to do so.

Muranga's brother admitted her alleged actions were a 'mistake', but claimed she had been unfairly targeted because of her race.

He said his sister waited several days in between experiencing symptoms and getting sick.

'Some days she couldn't even breathe out of her airways and s**t,' he told the program via telephone.

'It's a << BLEEP>> mistake,' he said. 'I reckon if someone else did this that wasn't of colour, you'll be protecting them - you wouldn't be doing all of this <<BLEEP>>.'

The women could be fined $13,345 or sent to jail for a maximum of five years.

Police said the trio are now cooperating with officers and Queensland Health officials.
The 11 Queensland locations visited by infected pair
The pair took flight VA863 from Melbourne to Sydney and flight VA977 from Sydney to Brisbane, 21 July

Parklands Christian College, Park Ridge, 22-23 July 2020 9.30am-6pm

Madtongsan IV Restaurant, Sunnybank, 23 July 2020 7-9pm

Heeretea Bubble Tea Shop, Sunnybank, 23 July 2020 9.25pm

YMCA Chatswood Hills Outside School Hours Care, Springwood, 23-24 July 2020 All

Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains, 24 July 2020 3.30-3.50pm

Thai Peak Restaurant, Springfield, 26 July 2020 6.30-9pm

Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar, Southbank, 27 July 2020 All

P'Nut Street Noodles, Southbank, 27 July 2020 All

African Grocery Shop, Woodridge (Station Rd), 28 July 2020 All

Primary Medical and Dental Practice, Browns Plains, 28 July 2020 12.25-12.30pm

Chatime Grand Plaza, Browns Plains, 28 July 2020 ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp

6 people face court accused of falsifying Queensland coronavirus border declaration passes
Three men from Logan have faced a Gold Coast court accused of falsifying border declaration passes around the same time the three women known as the Logan trio appeared before a Brisbane court on similar charges.

Diana Lasu, 21, Olivia Winnie Muranga, 20, and Haja Timbo, 21, appeared in the Brisbane Magistrates Court accused of fraud and providing a false or misleading document in July.

It was alleged the trio lied to health officials in order to cross the border after a trip to Melbourne — a declared COVID-19 hotspot.

Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu both tested positive to coronavirus.

The fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of five years' jail, while providing false or misleading documents carries a maximum fine of $13,345.

In Melbourne, the women were fined by authorities there for breaking COVID-19 rules by organising a party of more than 30 people where they were staying.

Earlier this month, Queensland's Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said at least one of the women was "most likely" the primary source of the state's recent COVID clusters in the Greater Brisbane area.

Multiple people have contracted the virus at the Brisbane Youth Detention Centre, the nearby Wacol prison training academy and the Ipswich Hospital.

Ms Muranga and Ms Lasu's matters were adjourned until October 28.

Ms Timbo's matter was adjourned until October 21.

Logan men front Coolangatta court
Three men from Logan who also stand accused of lying on their border declaration passes when returning from Victoria, also appeared in court.

Tithing Keresoma Faagase, 29, Samuel Tumua Fenunuti, 25, and Earnest Tumanu Lotomau, 23, fronted the Coolangatta Magistrates Court.

Police alleged the trio spent weeks in Melbourne before returning via the M1 at Coolangatta in early August.

Police said the men used a false G pass to gain entry into Queensland.

They were detained by officers and immediately placed into hotel quarantine then later charged with failing to comply with the COVID-19 Queensland border direction.

All three were granted bail.

Their matters are due to return to court on October 19. ... d=msedgdhp

'Weak-positive' COVID-19 test result recorded in the Northern Territory
The man wore a mask as soon as he got off his flight and went straight into quarantine.
Key points:
The man, in his 60s, arrived in Darwin on flight JQ674 from Brisbane on Saturday
He had previously recovered from coronavirus in Victoria, and is not believed to be infectious
The man has been in a mandatory quarantine facility since getting off the flight and is not showing any symptoms

NT health authorities say there has been a 'weak-positive' coronavirus test result of a man in his 60s who had recently arrived from Victoria and previously recovered from the virus.

NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the man had gone straight to a quarantine facility in Howard Springs after arriving by plane on flight JQ674 from Brisbane on Saturday.

"He wore a mask as soon as he left the plane and we believe there is no risk to the public," Ms Fyles said.

"This is an unusual test result and I want to reassure Territorians we are making decisions based on their safety and health," she said.

The man had contracted coronavirus in Victoria and had then recovered, and before coming to the NT had tested negative to the virus 14 days before making his way to Darwin.

NT authorities won't count the result as a coronavirus case because the Department of Health believes the result is simply due to a minute 'residual' amount of virus in the man's system.

"It is highly unlikely he is infectious, he is well and is asymptomatic," the NT's Acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Charles Pain, said.

"This issue, of weak positives, has been seen before even though it's unusual, when people have had residual virus after making a full recovery."

"The man was wearing a mask as soon as he got off that flight and went straight into quarantine. We believe he is not infectious but are treating it as if he were infectious to be cautious," Dr Pain said.

"Weak-positive means that it is a very weakly positive result which means together with his history, which we know that he was positive in the past and had been cleared and was negative, then it was highly unlikely to be a contagious case and infection case however we treat him as if he is positive regardless."

It has been almost 60 days since the last recorded case of coronavirus in the NT.

Ms Fyles said the weak-positive result would not be tallied as a coronavirus case, because the man had contracted the virus and recovered in Victoria, meaning that the NT's historical number of cases remained at 34.

The man is clinically healthy and in isolation at Royal Darwin Hospital. ... e/12710564

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner flags expanding coronavirus hotspot policy overseas
Chief Minister Michael Gunner says he is in discussions about expanding the Northern Territory's current hotspot policy to include international destinations.

Travellers arriving in the NT from interstate COVID-19 hotspots — which currently includes Greater Sydney and all of Victoria — must enter two weeks mandatory, supervised quarantine at a cost of $2,500.

All international arrivals, regardless of where they are from, must also quarantine upon their arrival.

Earlier this month, about 160 seasonal workers from Vanuatu landed in Darwin as part of a trial program to fill a labour shortage for the mango harvest.

Although Vanuatu is one of the few countries that have no confirmed cases of coronavirus, all workers went into quarantine upon their arrival — costing the NT mango industry about $400,000.

"One of the things I've been discussing is, with our international borders, is there a capacity to expand our hotspots policy?" Mr Gunner told ABC Radio Darwin this morning.

"Because if you do, Vanuatu would be not a hotspot."

While Australia's international borders are managed by the Federal Government Mr Gunner said the Territory's interstate hotspot policy was "sensible" and could potentially be expanded to include international destinations.

"We can't control the international borders — all we can do is talk to [the Commonwealth] about how we might manage things," the Chief Minister said.

"If you look at expanding our hotspots policy overseas it would help with how you make those travel decisions and how you handle people coming in, which would free up significant space within the country and how you manage that."

Mr Gunner also said the Government wanted to trial quarantining international students studying in the NT at the Howard Springs quarantine facility, south-east of Darwin's CBD.

"We have a lot of international students here. Over the last four years we grew international student numbers from just over 1,000 to 2,500 … I don't think we could get 2,500 in," he said.

"We are working with the Australian Government around getting back into the next lot of term — how do we do that safely and make sure the economy keeps ticking, basically, but do it in a way that doesn't hurt anyone?"

The facility, which is a former Inpex workers' village, previously housed coronavirus evacuees from Wuhan and the Diamond Princess.

"To me, the priority has to be how do we safely look after the people in quarantine at Howard Springs so that we don't put anyone at risk," Mr Gunner said.

"We don't want to ever be at capacity because we are looking after probably the most vulnerable people in Australia.

"We don't want a repeat of what happened in Victoria."

Mr Gunner said the number of people quarantining at Howard Springs had grown from about 600 to 1,100 as more people chose to travel to the NT.

He said the facility would continue to house people evacuated through emergency charter flights organised through the Australian Government.

"Anyone coming in from overseas and into Darwin and into that quarantine facility will do so in a scheduled way between the Australian Government and the Territory Government, bringing them in and making sure we keep Territorians safe," Mr Gunner said. ... d=msedgdhp


Outrage as 300 attend Liberal Party AGM as weddings capped at 150
ngaged couples denied permission for a big wedding are outraged after more than 300 Liberal Party delegates crowded into a convention centre to hear Scott Morrison speak.

The Prime Minister flew into Adelaide on Friday, just one day after South Australia opened its border to his home state of New South Wales.

The next morning, he addressed 300 delegates and observers at the Adelaide Convention Centre for the Liberal Party's annual general meeting.

The number of attendees on Saturday was double SA's existing cap of 150 people for both weddings and funerals.

Under contentious COVID-19 rules, indoor conventions and lectures are allowed to hold up to 1,000 people on the condition everyone is kept two metres apart and provides their contact details.

Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting the ruling Liberal Party flouted its own coronavirus restrictions in South Australia.

Heidi Girolamo, a Liberal Party candidate for the 2022 state election, posted Instagram images of the conference showing delegates seated near the front of the stage, showing little visible social distancing.

'Privileged to be able to attend the Liberal Party SA Division AGM and hear from our Prime Minister and Premier,' she said.

She hailed being able to attend a gathering with Mr Morrison and SA Premier Steven Marshall, whose government is restricting wedding and funeral gatherings but allowed the AFL a crowded Friday night ceremony for the Adelaide Crows Best and Fairest event.

In another Instagram image, there was a sign on the stage, 'Keeping SA safe and strong' in front of delegates bunched up together near the stage as former SA premier and outgoing party president John Olsen spoke.

An engaged couple told 7News in Adelaide they were upset with the double standard.

'It's very frustrating because you've gone through all this time stressing about, planning for the wedding and this sort of thing and all of a sudden it's, "Hey, let's have a function because the Prime Minister's in town",' the would-be groom said.

Despite media reports of 300 people being present, the SA Liberal Party's state director Sascha Meldrum said 214 delegates attended. That number didn't include the media and party observers.

'The meeting adhered to the venue's COVID safe plan approved by SA Health and a COVID marshall was present throughout the event,' she said.

Deputy Opposition Leader Susan Close said it was hypocritical for the Liberal Party to hold a state council AGM with 300 people as function venues across the state struggled with wedding crowd restrictions.

'This is a time when there should be weddings all across South Australia,' the Labor MP told 7News.

'Yet those businesses are right on the knife edge of survival and we see the Liberal Party getting together for a Liberal AGM.'

This isn't the first time the Liberal Party in SA has held a crowded event, despite restrictions on crowd numbers elsewhere.

On August 6, 200 mainly elderly ladies gathered at the Adelaide Oval convention centre for the Liberal Women's Council annual general meeting, back when weddings and funerals were restricted to 100 people.

A Liberal Party party from SA told Daily Mail Australia last month's Women's Council last month and Saturday's annual general meeting were both timed to help the moderate faction maintain its dominate over the rival conservative faction.

On August 6, 200 people gathered at the Adelaide Oval convention centre for the Liberal Women's Council annual general meeting, back when weddings and funerals were restricted to 100 people

Engaged couples denied permission for a big wedding are outraged after more than 300 Liberal Party delegates crowded into a convention centre to hear Scott Morrison speak.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham, a Liberal, is the most senior moderate from South Australia in the federal cabinet.

The Liberal Party member from SA said the reopening of her state to NSW meant the AGM would be held at a time that benefited the moderate faction, which Mr Marshall belongs to.

'My personal view is Birmo didn't want the borders to open until he could have the state AGM,' the source said.

'If they'd opened too early any cases in SA would have stopped the large AGMs going ahead.' ... d=msedgdhp

South Australia accepting hundreds more returned travellers as caps rise
Hundreds of international travellers are set to touch down in Adelaide this week as South Australia's intake limit on accepting Australians returning from overseas increases.

A Qatar Airways flight transporting around 130 people tonight touched down in Adelaide, marking the first flight to arrive after the cap rose to 600 per week — more than doubling the state's previous intake.

All 130 people were placed into 14 days of quarantine, with the South Australian government organising for an extra hotel to be set up to accommodate the added demand.

It comes as more Australian Defence Force members will also be deployed to help South Australian police manage the returning travellers.

As part of the state's current coronavirus quarantine requirements, every returning traveller coming back to South Australia as part of the increase intake will need to pay for their own hotel quarantine stay and also pass two COVID-19 tests before being released. ... d=msedgdhp


Adelaide Crows AFL players Brad Crouch and Tyson Stengle allegedly caught with drugs
Key points:
Brad Crouch and Tyson Stengle were allegedly caught by police with an illicit substance
They say it was an "error of judgement"
The club says police do not intend to charge them

Two Adelaide Crows AFL players have allegedly been caught with drugs in Adelaide's CBD.
The Adelaide Football Club says Brad Crouch and Tyson Stengle were stopped by police and allegedly caught in possession of an illicit substance in the city early on Monday morning.

Crows head of football Adam Kelly said it was "disappointing news" and a "significant breach of community standards".

"They're really embarrassed [and] disappointed," Kelly said.

"They feel like they've let the club down, let their teammates down, the members and supporters, which they have."

He would not say what the substance was.

"Put simply, it's an illicit drug," Kelly said.

"It's illegal, it's not meeting community standards, it's not meeting the standards of the football club, so regardless of what the substance was, it's not up to the standards we expect of our players."

He said the pair was in a taxi when police pulled them over to check for drugs.

In a statement, SA Police said officers "spoke with a 21-year-old man and a 26-year-old man on Grenfell Street" at 5:15am.

"As a result, both men were drug diverted," a spokeswoman said.

The club said it understood neither player would be charged over the matter and instead police have referred them to a counselling process.

Players made 'error of judgement'
In a statement put out through their management, Stengle, 21, and Crouch, 26 said they "unconditionally accept responsibility" for their actions.

"We accept that our error of judgement is not in line with community expectations, nor the high standards we set four ourselves," it said.

"In this regard, we are committed to the counselling process that SA Police has implemented to manage this and will continue to cooperate with our club as required."

Kelly said the Crows would ensure both players received the "necessary support".

"As an organisation, we take a very strong stance against any behaviour of this kind," he said.

"The wellbeing of Brad and Tyson is also paramount and we will make sure they receive appropriate support."

According to SA Health, "drug diversion" refers to a mandatory nationwide process in which police "divert adults detected for simple possession drug offences away from the criminal justice system".

"Its aim is to provide individuals with the opportunity to address their drug use through health services and reduce the number of people appearing before the courts for use or possession of illicit drugs offences," the SA Health website states.
Court and contract trouble
Stengle is set to face court next month on a drink-driving charge after his lawyer failed to enter a plea on his behalf in August.

He was suspended for four matches earlier this season after he was reported by police for allegedly drink driving in an unregistered vehicle.

Kelly said Stengle had had a "very disappointing six months", which would factor into decision-making about his penalty from the club.

"He's made some really poor decisions," Kelly said.

Crouch's future at the Crows is unclear, without an official contract for 2021, and the midfielder has openly countenanced leaving West Lakes as he seeks a long term playing deal.

"At the moment I'm considering obviously whether to go to another side maybe in Victoria at this stage or whether to stay here," he said last week.

"It's a pretty hard decision to make at the moment because I don't really have a lot of information to go by."

The Crows ended the 2020 AFL season at the bottom of the ladder with three wins and 14 losses.

CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:40 am

8 more coronavirus cases in Port Hedland hotel quarantine from Patricia Oldendorff ship
Another eight crew members from a bulk carrier anchored off Western Australia's north coast have tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of cases from the ship to 17.

The eight new cases are part of the crew who were transferred off the Patricia Oldendorff into hotel quarantine in Port Hedland on Friday.

It means WA on Monday recorded more new cases of the virus than Victoria, which had five new cases.

Seven of the infected crew members remain on board the vessel, which arrived from Manila last week and is anchored about nine nautical miles from the Pilbara town, while there are now 10 in hotel quarantine.

The remaining four crew members — two on the ship and two in hotel quarantine — have so far tested negative to the virus.

WA Medical Assistance Team (WAMAT) mission leader Tudor Codreanu said the result was not unexpected, and the measures already implemented were "entirely satisfactory".

"These results do not affect in any way the safety of the larger community, nor of the maritime personnel," he said.

"Therefore for us it is, as I said, not unexpected and we continue doing what we have been doing for the last four days."

Serological testing results of two crew members still on the ship are due later on Monday and will reveal if they previously had the virus.

"If the serology test is positive, it is actually reassuring for us that we have able seamen there that can maintain the safety and security of the vessel," Dr Codreanu said.

Crew members 'in good spirits'
In a statement, WA Health said all crew members were "in good spirits and have been able to contact family at home".

"Crew also have been provided access to culturally appropriate food by a Filipino chef," it said.

WA Health and the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) have again sought to reassure the Port Hedland community, saying "every safety measure is being put in place to protect the local community".

"The safety of the maritime workers, emergency services and transport staff, hotel staff and the local community continues to be our number one priority," their statement said.

Health Minister Roger Cook has previously said a new international crew currently undergoing quarantine in Perth could be brought up to operate the ship.

He said the seven COVID-19 positive crew members on board had either no or mild symptoms.

Daily cleaning is now being carried out on the ship, where separation zones have been established and no other work is being conducted apart from essential operations.

Dr Codreanu said there was not currently a qualified nine-member replacement crew available in WA for the ship, but that the company had three extra people in Port Hedland and two in Perth.

Health officials are in individual contact with each of the nine crew members still on the ship.

Dr Codreanu said WA authorities now knew much more about the virus and were in a much better position than they were a few months back, when there were outbreaks aboard the Artania cruise ship and the Al Kuwait live export carrier.

Residents 'worried and anxious'
But residents in Port Hedland are growing concerned about the developing situation.

Port Hedland Ratepayers Association president Arnold Carter described it as "amazing, shocking and disastrous".

"This is something that we always thought was on the horizon, but to see it eventually in your own town has come as a bit of a shock," he said.

Mr Carter questioned why a quarantine facility had not been established in preparation for an outbreak on a ship.

"With the amount of money that goes out of Port Hedland with the iron ore industry … there is not a facility for emergencies such as this in the Pilbara," he said.

"We have a detention centre up there at Cooke Point absolutely empty."

He said residents were "concerned, worried and anxious" to see what would happen.

"Let's hope they don't have a repetition of what happened in Melbourne," Mr Carter said.

The mining company which had chartered the Patricia Oldendorff said there would be no impact on its operations.

Consolidated Minerals has chartered a new vessel to pick up its Manganese shipment.

The new charter vessel is due to arrive to pick up the minerals in early October.

ADF to aid Port Hedland quarantine
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will help enforce the quarantine operation in Port Hedland.

The ADF said it had received a request for help from the WA Government and expected to provide 10 soldiers for the job from Thursday.

There are already 192 members of the ADF in WA as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist, with 121 of those involved in quarantine compliance at hotels and at Perth Airport.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) WA president Andrew Miller said it was disturbing there were COVID-positive people as part of the essential crew still on the Patricia Oldendorff.

"What happens if one of them gets really sick? We have handled COVID on ships before but never outside of the Perth metropolitan area," he said.

"More and more and more of the ships that turn up in Western Australia are going to have COVID on them, and so we now need to fully understand how we are going to handle it when it happens in these regional areas that are very vulnerable.

"I've spoken to some of the doctors on the ground there … they're not confident that the health resource up there is up to scratch at this stage to deal with critically ill COVID cases." ... d=msedgdhp

Migration must play a role in Australia's post-COVID economic recovery
mmigration has long been an important foundation for Australia's economic development and prosperity, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic slowing of overseas arrivals.

The Morrison government has flagged that a "reset" of the migration program will feature in the October 6 federal budget. Now is the time to take stock of the current system and recalibrate for the future, to help Australia come back better.

Historically, migration trends have followed economic conditions, and we should not expect this crisis to be any different. Policy decisions taken now will have a major impact on Australia's ability to attract the best and brightest as we start to emerge from the pandemic, and as countries such as the United States introduce new restrictions on migration. These considerations must be evidence-based and nuanced.

Providing more information and transparency on skills shortages will be critical to bolster confidence in both our skills and migration systems, at a time when we will see both historically high and rising unemployment, as well as pockets of skills shortages. These circumstances will be challenging for the community to reconcile.

With unemployment rising sharply, many have already been questioning how bringing more workers into the country remains in the nation's best interests.

But previous CEDA (the Committee for Economic Development of Australia) modelling has shown that recent waves of migrants have not had a negative impact on the wages or participation rates of Australian-born workers.

In fact, the results suggest that at certain levels of qualification and experience, an increasing proportion of migrants can help boost wages and employment. The results are consistent with previous modelling for the Productivity Commission by ANU researchers, who found no evidence that the entry of migrants had a negative effect on the labour market outcomes of local workers.

Ensuring we are doing our best to fill critical skill gaps that cannot be met in the short term within Australia will help to ensure that migration supports our economic recovery. On this front, there is room for improvement.

Changes to migration programs have been made so frequently that it is hard to determine which aspects of the programs are effective in meeting skill needs.

There are also legitimate questions about the nature of skills gaps and the extent to which some gaps reflect difficult working conditions and the desirability of some occupations.

Australia must get serious about better identifying skills gaps and ensuring that temporary skilled migration is working in tandem with a responsive education and training system. A starting point would be to introduce contemporary skills classifications. Ours are well out of date.

Previous CEDA research has also pointed to the benefits of better targeting funds from the Skilling Australians Fund Levy, a charge paid by businesses that want to sponsor temporary migrants, to address training in identified areas of shortage.

Temporary skilled migration has achieved more than simply plugging short-term skills gaps. It has also played an important role in developing global talent and importing unique overseas experience into Australian workforces.

Medical device manufacturer Cochlear, as one example, used temporary skilled migration for a decade when it faced a lack of engineering skills in advanced manufacturing. Those engineers built up Cochlear's skill base, and it now has a stable Australian workforce.

In cases such as these, where business seeks to fill unique and very senior roles, or where they are a local subsidiary of a large multinational corporation, there is less resistance to the use of temporary migration.

Few dispute the value to our economy of such roles, as they both fill an immediate skills gap and provide important transfer of skills to colleagues, but the system does not always support these needs.

The revolving door of policy changes, the retention of processes such as labour market testing for highly specific roles and recruits, and recent changes that limit pathways to citizenship, do little to build confidence among employers, potential candidates or the broader community that the system is reliably serving their interests.

In this vein, the closure of Australia's national borders is already front of mind for CEDA members around the country, given the impact it is having on their ability to access skilled labour. It is crucial that skills shortages do not emerge as a barrier to business recovery and growth from this crisis.

The COVID-19 recession has sharpened the focus on the role of training to help prevent labour market scarring for a generation of young Australians. We need an equal focus on improving our immigration systems to ensure migration plays its part in our economic recovery.

In the meantime, we hope the government will take the long view on migration, recognising its role in building past prosperity, and the potential for similar benefits in a world where the competition for skills and talent will only intensify. ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:04 am


Qantas workers face the axe as COVID-19 grounding of flights opens outsourcing loophole
Qantas workers are protesting the outsourcing plan, which would see a further 2,500 jobs lost.
After more than two decades working for Qantas at Sydney Airport, Nick Bennett is waiting for the axe to fall.

"I know it's going to fall but it's just a matter of when and it's just an absolute mental strain on me and my fellow workers," he says.

Mr Bennett worked his way through the ranks since starting at the airline in 1999, and for the past eight years has been moving and positioning aircraft as a pushback operator for Qantas International.

He thought his job was safe after more than a third of his team took redundancies as part of the 6,000 jobs cut across the company.

His workload was cut dramatically, he was rostered six weeks off and two weeks on, and his wage was subsidised by JobKeeper.

But he was shocked that, after telling staff "we're all in this together", management announced further drastic cost-cutting — proposing to outsource all ground handling, which would see another 2,500 jobs lost.

"We're the spirit of Australia, the workforce … it's been our lives, we're like a family, and to be told we're no longer part of the family has been a bit of a blow."

Mr Bennett feels the airline's retiring Boeing 747s got a better send-off than some of the long-standing workers will when the axe does fall.

In Melbourne, Elif Celik works in the fleet presentation team, cleaning and sterilising aircraft between flights.

She's devastated by the potential outsourcing.

"It's more of a family than a team. The seven-and-a-half years I've spent at Qantas, I've felt right at home … it's the people that keeps us going at work," she said.

'Under the cover of COVID'
The Transport Workers Union (TWU) describes the outsourcing plan as "an outrageous outcome", "under the cover of COVID".

And many workers feel the same, joining protests outside the Qantas headquarters in Sydney.

"Why has this decision been made now when JobKeeper is available?" questions TWU national secretary Michael Kaine.

"Why has the decision been made just after 6,000 redundancies have been announced?

"Why has the decision been made when this work still needs to be done?"

In response, Qantas points to its $2.7 billion loss in the last financial year and expectations of another big loss due to a $10 billion hit to revenue this year.

The airline says those losses mean it has had to "make some fundamental changes", which also included a large reduction in current executive pay and bonuses, and a review of office locations and sponsorships.

"If we do proceed with the proposal to outsource this work to specialist ground handlers we would expect to save an estimated $100 million in operating costs each year," the airline said in a statement.

It added it would save an additional $80 million over the next five years by not having to buy new equipment.

'Less stringent safety measures'
Mr Bennett says some of the work is highly skilled; his current role required three months of training to drive a pushback tractor and obtaining several licences.

"I've been trained to the highest standards and I doubt anyone can get in, replace me and do the job as well as I can. So, yes I have concerns, definitely," he argues.

"We drive the high lift trucks, the medical trucks, the mobile stairs and we are more experienced because of the years of service we've put into the company," Ms Celik explains.

"These workers will now take a massive cut in pay and will be subject to less stringent safety measures, less training. That can't be good for anyone involved in aviation in Australia," Mr Kaine adds.

The TWU has , one of the companies lining up to take on the outsourced work from Qantas.

However, Qantas defends their safety records.

"We have been using these ground handlers for a long time and know that they can deliver a reliable and safe service for our operation," Qantas said, with both it and particularly its low-cost offshoot Jetstar already using some of these providers at many smaller airports.

"We would never do something that compromised safety and our track record shows that."

Why is Qantas outsourcing now?
Mr Bennett has worked some shifts, moving international and cargo aircraft, since the pandemic began to disrupt travel in March.

But he says many colleagues who are baggage handlers or ground workers have been stood down for six months.

The gap in operations caused by COVID-19 has opened the door for Qantas to potentially have the very same workers doing the same work, but without the same pay and conditions.

Generally, under the Fair Work Act, if you sell part of your business or outsource operations to another provider then it's a "transfer of business" and existing employee pay and conditions transfer over too.

"Suppose company A wants to outsource some work to company B," explains University of Adelaide labour law expert Andrew Stewart.

"The Fair Work Commission can make orders that can relieve company B of having to pay the same wages and conditions as company A used to, but the commission will take a lot of persuading before it does that."

That's unless absolutely none of the current employees transfer across to the new operation, in which case there's no "transfer of business".

Normally, that simply wouldn't be possible for something like the entire Qantas ground handling crew, as there are no other operators with enough trained staff to meet its day-to-day needs.

COVID-19 opens up the three-month gap
However, there's another way to avoid a "transfer of business".

"If there's longer than a three-month gap [between working for company A and working for company B], then there isn't a transfer of business and the new employer is not obliged to observe the same terms and conditions that applied at the first employer," Professor Stewart adds.

Again, this normally wouldn't be possible for Qantas — it couldn't survive without ground handling staff for three months. Except when there is virtually no passenger air travel anyway due to COVID-19.

While Qantas denies it is using the lack of air traffic as an opportunity to outsource ground handling, it also admits the lack of international flights and dramatic reduction in domestic flights has resulted in additional capacity among the companies this work might be outsourced to.

"We are comfortable there would be sufficient ground handling capacity in the market to manage the estimated schedule," the company said in a statement.

"We are not anticipating any international flights until July next year and domestic services will continue to be well below pre-COVID levels well into next year.

"IATA [International Air Transport Association] estimates air travel will not return to pre-COVID levels until 2023 or 2024."

Professor Stewart said Qantas won't be the only business trying to find some silver linings from the pandemic.

"It may be that, whether it's Qantas or anyone else, there are businesses right now that can find ways to make long-lasting changes to their labour arrangements that will save them money," he said.

"But whenever you're trying to knock 40 per cent or any other figure off costs of doing certain business, and that involves changing labour arrangements and it involves trying to have workers employed under new conditions then, particularly if those workers are unionised, you can guarantee there's going to be a fight.

"And the law certainly provides some weapons that unions can at least try to use to prevent these kinds of tactics working."

'Echoes of the Waterfront Dispute'
Professor Stewart is referring to laws against "adverse action".

"The Fair Work Act has provisions which try to make sure that workers aren't disadvantaged in any way because they're a member of a trade union or not a member of a trade union, because they're entitled to the benefit or an award or an enterprise agreement or other protections under the legislation," he explained.

"It's always going to be risky, as we saw in the 1990s with the Waterfront Dispute.

"Patrick Stevedores got taken all the way to the High Court, their restructure eventually was stopped using the kinds of laws, the kinds of provisions, which are still the Fair Work Act today."

It's a parallel the TWU is only too keen to draw.

"We've got a CEO who has very close contacts with the Prime Minister Scott Morrison," Mr Kaine said.

"We know they've been talking to each other, they've been admitting it in front of the national media.

"We now know that they [Qantas] were speaking to outsource companies about this potential action, months before they gave workers notice, in secret.

"So this secret pact that Qantas has made with these outside hire companies to replace this workforce has all the echoes of the Waterfront Dispute, and the TWU's fighting it in the Fair Work Commission and we'll fight it in any other forum that we can."

However, Qantas is confident the workers and their union have no case.

"Regarding adverse action, we don’t believe there is any basis to claim this," the airline said.

After two decades at Qantas, Mr Bennett says he's ready to work for another 10 years.

It is a job for which he's sacrificed five out of six weekends and many Christmases, working shifts at all hours, commuting from Wollongong to Sydney.

But he says he's been happy to do so, for job security in a role in which he takes pride, and a team that's like family.

Now, he fears his own adult sons, currently at university, won't have the same opportunities if other companies move towards outsourcing and cost-cutting. ... d=msedgdhp

Qantas eight weeks away from running out of money at height of COVID-19 pandemic, court told
Qantas was eight weeks away from running out of money at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Sydney court has heard.

The Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association has taken the airline to the Federal Court, challenging the legality of standing down about 450 Qantas and Jetstar maintenance engineers.

The workers were among two-thirds of the workforce stood down without pay as passenger numbers plummeted in mid-March.

Qantas is seeking a declaration that there was a stoppage of work for which it cannot reasonably be held responsible.

Barrister Rowena Orr QC, for the airline, said the pandemic and the measures taken by governments to control its impacts were not foreseeable.

The stoppages were caused by "external events" which "challenged the very viability of Qantas and Jetstar", she said.

"By late March this year, the Qantas group had formed the view that if they continued to operate their regularly scheduled flights … the group would have exhausted its existing cash reserves within a period of eight to 10 weeks," Ms Orr told the court on Monday.

By the time Qantas made the decision to stand down workers, every other "cost-saving measure" had been explored and implemented, she added.

"The alternative was to continue conducting flights with no, or very few, passengers in the hope that conditions for air travel would return to normal which, of course, has not proven to be the case," Ms Orr said.

"It would ultimately have put at risk the jobs of all of the group's employees."

Qantas claims the move was made in accordance with stand-down clauses in enterprise agreements which enable it to stand down employees who cannot be "usefully employed".

According to the agreements, this may be done if the reason is a "stoppage of work through any cause for which Qantas cannot reasonably be held responsible", or in Jetstar's case, "by any cause which Jetstar cannot reasonably prevent".

The association's barrister, Lucy Saunders, argued there had been a decision to stop work to then justify stand-downs.

"You are choosing to fly or not to fly," she said, adding there may have been economic imperatives that informed the decision.

"It's a choice, as soon as it becomes a choice, that decision to stand down is a matter within someone's control.

"A lack of customers — no matter how stark, no matter how externally motivated — isn't itself a stoppage of work."

Justice Geoffrey Flick has reserved his decision. ... d=msedgdhp

'We need planes in the air': Push for internal borders to come down
Pressure is mounting on Daniel Andrews to lift restrictions in Victoria faster as calls grow for internal borders to come down.

Scott Morrison has criticised Victoria's premier for taking too long to open the state up and wants to see domestic travel back on before Christmas.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the move was vital for the country's economic recovery.

"We need these border restrictions to be eased quicker," Mr McCormack told Today.

"We need to get planes back in the air. Planes in the air means jobs on the ground.

"Continuing to have tight border closures is hurting, particularly regional areas, they are under very similar restrictions in some cases, to those in the city areas, and they haven't had a coronavirus case for many months, if at all.

"I appreciate that many of those restrictions in regional Victoria have eased, but we are talking about one city here.

"It's affecting most of the state, it's affecting international travel, its affecting interstate travel."

The federal government is extending its Domestic Aviation Network Support program which was due to end on Wednesday.

The Morrison government has already paid $150 million to the airlines under the scheme.

It means Qantas, Virgin Australia and Regional Express will be able to claim back any losses they incur on domestic flights until the end of January and on regional flights until the end of March.

"We are putting more money, millions upon millions of dollars in making sure that we get planes back in the air," Mr McCormack said.

"If we still have tight border restrictions it makes it so much more different."

The extension is designed to encourage airlines to maintain routes which would otherwise be unviable due to low passenger numbers and would be a welcome boost for regional towns struggling with tourism.

But the reopening of borders was dependent on state and territory leaders.

"They need to know that people need to get back to their loved ones," Mr McCormack said.

"They need to know that the aviation sector needs those jobs. Regional tourism, indeed tourism right across the nation.

"We've got 45,600 jobs in regional Australia identified by the regional Australia Institute just last week.

"There are jobs out here. We need to get people into these areas." ... d=msedgdhp

Federal government to extend domestic airline support into 2021
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is imploring state premiers across Australia to begin reopening their borders in a bid to boost domestic travel and support the struggling airline sector.He confirmed the government will extend regional air network support until March 28, while the domestic aviation support network will be extended until January 31.

Mr McCormack told Sky News the move was “good news” for those regional communities serviced by domestic airlines as it guaranteed they would receive necessary services – such as medical care – despite some borders remaining closed.

“For many of those communities it’s a lifeline to the outside world,” he said.

“We urge and encourage and implore the premiers of those states to lift their border restrictions to make sure that we can get those planes back in the air.”

He said without government support, some of the regional routes would not be viable for domestic airlines to continue, which would essentially cut off thousands of residents in rural and remote Australia from major cities and services. ... d=msedgdhp

Deputy PM demands Australia's states end their border closures
Australia's Deputy Prime Minister has demanded state leaders open their borders in time for Christmas.

Michael McCormack said it's 'not good enough' that Australians still can't travel within the country despite daily coronavirus cases continuing to plummet.

'We want the Premiers of those states who have still got very tight lockdowns to ease those restrictions,' he told Sunrise on Monday.

'People want to travel, particularly as we approach the warmer months where people want to go on holiday and they want to catch-up with their loved ones over Christmas.'It's not good enough that we've got tight border restrictions that are preventing many people from travelling where they want to be around this great nation.'

Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania all still have 'hard' border closures in place, while Victorians must undergo hotel quarantine if they are granted an exemption to leave the state.

Mr McCormack said airlines had been smashed by coronavirus lockdowns and border closures.

'Uncertainty affects the ability of airlines and airports to plan for recovery and undermines consumer confidence, which amounts to a significant cost to industry and ultimately the Australian economy,' he said.

'The federal government is doing our bit by underwriting these flights to maintain minimum connectivity.

'Now we need the states and territories to do their bit too as we again encourage the continued easing of border restrictions.'

One in four Australians travelled by air to visit friends and family every year before the coronavirus pandemic.

'By underwriting key routes, we are providing the opportunity for Australians to do just that,' Mr McCormack said.The federal government is extending subsidies for airlines operating flights between capital cities and regional towns.

Support for key domestic routes will continue until the end of January, while regional routes will be propped up until March.

The government has already spent $150 million helping Qantas, Virgin and smaller airlines survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The upcoming federal budget is expected to contain hundreds of millions of dollars in additional support. ... d=msedgdhp

Federal Government warned about rising risk of homelessness from COVID-19
More than 300 community groups have warned tens of thousands of Australian families could be left homeless as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic if the Federal Government does not boost support for social housing projects in this year's Budget.

Charities have been inundated with requests for help from people who can no longer pay their rent because they have lost their job due to coronavirus restrictions.

It's led hundreds of organisations to call on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to increase Federal Government support for affordable housing.

Kate Colvin is leading the Everybody's Home Campaign, and said 30,000 properties need to be built over the next four years.

"It is a way to kill two birds with one stone," she said.

"It fixes this problem of homelessness but also addresses unemployment because building housing creates jobs."

Demand increasing
The pandemic has changed the profile of people who need cheap housing, and placed extra pressure on a system that already does not meet demand.

Ms Colvin is worried the number of people waiting for an affordable rental property will continue to grow unless the Government provides cash to build more homes for those with little to no money.

"There's more than 160,000 Australian families waiting for public housing or Indigenous housing, and many wait years," she said.

Launch Housing helps people in Melbourne find rental properties, and its Chief Executive Officer Bevan Warner said demand for assistance has skyrocketed.

"We are still seeing very strong demand, it's in the hundreds of people per day and we are noticing a 40 per cent increase in the last few months with a different type of client coming to us," he said.

Organisations like Launch Housing have observed people who usually have regular but insecure work and have never sought help in the past are now needing assistance.

Mr Warner said there had been a "stampede" on cheaper private rentals across Melbourne, which pushed the most vulnerable out of the market and forced them to wait for public housing.

He warned if the Federal Government did not invest in more affordable housing, there would be a greater number of people without a roof over their head.

"We will see an increase in street-sleeping in capital cities, we will see an increase in people sleeping in cars," Mr Warner said.

"The community will bear the extra cost of treating homeless in the streets rather than solving it [because] it costs more to treat homelessness than it costs to solve it."

In a statement, the Federal Minister for Housing Michael Sukkar said the Government was making "ongoing investments" into social housing.

He said the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation had financed, through bonds, thousands of dwellings, many of which are maintained by community housing providers.

"Every year the Federal Government provides more than $6 billion in Commonwealth Rent Assistance and support to the states and territories to deliver social housing through the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement," Mr Sukkar said.

"The Morrison Government remains committed to this ongoing annual support."

Living the nightmare
Lisa is one of the hundreds of thousands of people on the social housing waiting list.

About six weeks ago, the 42-year-old had no choice but to leave her Melbourne home because her ex-partner was emotionally abusive.

"I knew it wasn't good to stay but it was really hard to leave," she said.

It's not the first time Lisa has been homeless and she said in the past it has been hard to find a home.

"I've done the whole couch surfing, staying at friends' places. I then went through a phase where I was actually on the street for a good four-and-a-half years, so that was tough," she said.

She is now in emergency accommodation, with her name on the social housing list, but will continue to look for a private rental in the meantime.

"Home is my identity and if I don't have a home I can't be the person I want to be because there is that uncertainty," she said.

Homes and jobs
Ms Colvin said building more social housing would not only create jobs for the construction industry, but help other Australians who want to work.


"If you are homeless you can't go out and look for a job, you can't stay in education, your kids can't participate properly in school and everyone's health suffers when they experience homelessness," she said.

Her sentiment is echoed by Mr Warner, who said investment in social housing will help people across the socioeconomic divide.

"It's been the history of Australia that every national government at a time of national crisis has acted in a bipartisan way with significant investment in public and community housing to both support jobs, support the economy and to produce an enduring social benefit," he said. ... d=msedgdhp


Unemployment won't return to normal in Australia for another 4 years, as new analysis reveals the 'marathon' recovery ahead
* Australia will need to become used to high unemployment, with the jobless rate set to struggle to return to below 6% for years to come.
* New Deloitte analysis projects that it will take two years just to move the jobless rate 1.3% lower.
* More broadly, a lack of growth is likely to see a "collapse" in wage growth, according to Deloitte
partner Chris Richardson.

Australia's economic pain will come quickly and fade slow, according to the latest look at the numbers.
Budget analysis published by Deloitte on Monday contends that while unemployment is set to soar in the second half of this year to around 10%, the federal government will struggle for years to come in getting unemployment back underneath 6% – its new big economic goal.

"[Deloitte] forecasts employment to fall by 0.5% in the year to June 2022 as businesses feel the pain from the winding back of earlier government support. This is expected to be followed by modest growth of 0.8% in the year to June 2023," Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson wrote.

"The bottom line is that job levels remain well below Treasury’s pre-COVID trajectory for them."

The current figures suggest it will be a four-year battle to put Australians back to work at pre-pandemic levels. Evidently, the road to recovery will be more protracted than the one that led us into recession.


"Both our prosperity and our fairness are taking heavy blows from the coronavirus crisis there’s never before been a hit to the Australian economy that’s this big and this fast," Richarson wrote.

"Relatively more jobs have been lost where unemployment was already the highest. Suburb by suburb in the cities, town by town in the bush, the pain to our livelihoods isn’t evenly spread."

By demographic, it has been women, casuals, part-time workers and young Australians who have been hit hardest, as early lockdowns shuttered some sectors before others. Equally, lifting lockdowns are expected to produce a bigger bounce among the workforce of pubs, clubs, hotels, gyms, cinemas, and entertainment centres. Meanwhile, Victoria will start behind the rest of the pack due to its ongoing lockdown.

"Whereas the war for our health has been a sprint, the war for our jobs will be a marathon. Both history and economics tell us that unemployment goes up fast, but it comes down slow," Richardson wrote, noting the RBA has already done all the heavy lifting it can.


"In every other recession and recovery you’ve seen, the Reserve Bank could always do more if it needed to. But not this time."

Instead, state and federal government will need to spend, spend, spend, as well as look at genuine reform to kickstart growth. Whatever the federal government decides to do will likely to be announced in the October budget, as existing support measures fall away.

They will need to with the lingering effects of a weakened workforce to be felt for years. While sluggish wage growth had been the bugbear of Australian economists for years, even that will look enviable to a "collapse" in wages post-COVID, restricting spending and further inhibiting growth.


Accordingly, Australians should at least pay less tax as fewer workers creep into new income brackets. Hardly a silver lining – but Australians may have to take what they can get. ... d=msedgdhp

A $355 billion Federal Budget hole shouldn't stop spending on welfare, tax cuts: Deloitte
The coronavirus crisis will punch a $355 billion hole in the federal budget, according to a new report which calls on the Federal Government to continue massive stimulus spending to create jobs and lift the nation out of a recession.

Deloitte Access Economics' latest budget monitor predicts a slightly better budget position than previously forecast, thanks largely to rising iron ore prices.

It estimates the federal budget will see an underlying cash deficit of $85.7 billion for the 2019-20 financial year, $198.5 billion this financial year, $45.1 billion in 2021-22 and $25.6 billion in 2022-23.

The report urges the Government to replace the Job Keeper wage subsidy with another temporary wage subsidy focussed on adding new jobs.

It suggests boosting the level of spending in the economy via infrastructure and social housing and providing higher welfare benefits for the unemployed and elderly.

And it calls on the Federal Government to bring forward its personal income tax cuts, adopt a business investment allowance and delay the legislated rise in compulsory superannuation.

The report's lead author, Deloitte Access Economics partner Chris Richardson, said many people were too focused on worrying about the cost of state and federal government policies introduced to fight the virus, rather than the need to do it to save lives.

"The budgetary impact of the fight against the coronavirus will have a rather smaller impact on the Australia of the future than many expect," Dr Richardson said.

"There's a lot worth worrying about amid a pandemic, but too many people are worrying rather too much about the cost of protecting our livelihoods at the same time that we're protecting our lives."

Call to bring forward personal income tax cuts
On Friday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg unveiled the final position of the federal budget after the 2019/20 financial year.

He said the underlying cash balance was a deficit of $85.3 billion, or 4.3 per cent of GDP, compared to the forecast surplus of $5 billion, or 0.3 per cent of GDP at MYEFO.

As the budget faces greater pressure, a number of groups have been calling on the Morrison Government to dump the later stages of its legislated personal income tax cuts, arguing it benefits higher-income earners and support should instead flow to people who need it.

Dr Richardson said doing that would be "downright dumb" and called for the tax cuts to be brought forward.

"The personal tax cuts have had terrible press, seemingly seen as the spawn of Satan," he said.

* The Morrison Government's personal tax cuts were legislated in three stages:
The first stage, which began in mid-2018, gave a tax cut of up to $1,080 a year (increased from $530 the year before) to low-and-middle-income earners using a tax offset. The $87,000 threshold under which the 37 per cent tax rate applied increased to $90,000.
* Stage two begins on July 1, 2022, increasing the top threshold of the 19 per cent tax bracket from $37,000 to $45,000 and raising the low income tax offset from $645 to $700, while the $90,000 threshold under which the 37 per cent tax rate applies increases to $120,000.
* Stage three is scheduled to begin in July 2024, removing the 32.5 per cent and 37 per cent bracket and applying a 30 per cent rate to all earnings between $45,000 and $200,000.

Treasury modelling showed that by the time the legislated cuts to personal income taxes are fully implemented in 2024-25, they would have made little change to the share of wage and salary income paid.

"The shares of tax paid by the top 1 per cent and the top 5 per cent of taxpayers will go up a little, while the share paid by the top 10 per cent and top 20 per cent will go down a little," Dr Richardson said.

If both phase 2 and 3 of the tax cuts were brought forward (and the existing low and middle income tax offsets are removed one year early) Mr Richardson estimated it would come at a cost of $21.0 billion in 2021-22, $14.8 billion in 2022-23 and $15.4 billion in 2023-24.

With no wage rises, people avoid 'bracket creep'
Additionally, those Treasury numbers assumed rising wage growth — which typically pushes people into higher tax brackets.

But the effect of higher wages pushing people into higher tax brackets — known as bracket creep — has been muted because of the COVID-19 crisis.

"Bracket creep is much less creepy than it used to be," Dr Richardson said.

"The collapse in wage growth now underway means the taxman's usual 'stealth tax' will be in the slow lane in the next few years.

"And now the coronavirus crisis has knocked the stuffing out of wage growth — which means it has also knocked the stuffing out of bracket creep."

He said the arrival of the second phase of the tax cuts would leave families paying $7.7 billion less in taxes than if the 2014-15 tax system had been indexed over time.

And the third phase of the tax cuts would leave families paying a little over $20 billion less in taxes than if the 2014-15 tax system had been indexed over time.

"In other words, tax cuts designed to combat bracket creep look like overachieving, because the collapse in wage growth has slowed bracket creep," Dr Richardson said.

He said if the tax cuts were brought forward in the October 6 federal budget, this could be the "cherry on top" of other stimulus measures that were also needed.

Will our economy grow the other side of COVID-19?
Federal policies to fight the COVID-19 crisis have come at a cost of more than $200 billion.

Dr Richardson estimated the impact of the lost tax take because of the weaker economy on federal net debt in 2022-23 would be $401 billion worse than Treasury had been projecting.

But he said while debt has gone up, interest rates have gone down, and the cash cost of interest paid by the government would be lower.

He said the government was expecting interest costs to fall by about $4 billion in 2022-23, but Deloitte expects it will be $2.4 billion lower in 2022-23 than it was in 2018-19.

"That gap — $1.6 billion in 2022-23 — is the equivalent of an ongoing cost to the average taxpayer of just $2.66 a week," he said.

"For not much more than the cost of a sausage sandwich at Bunnings, that may be the biggest bargain you'll ever score."

Dr Richardson said Australia's economy will grow again on the other side of the war against COVID-19.

In the meantime, he suggested the Government introduce an investment allowance for companies, what he dubbed "the poor man's version of a company tax cut".

Deloitte Access Economics had advised stakeholders on the impacts of such an allowance, he said, noting it had been used by both sides of politics in the past.

"Prior schemes have generally applied only to plant and equipment, or in specific circumstances such as dealing with the effect of drought on farmers," Dr Richardson said.

"The introduction of a permanent investment allowance would be aimed at encouraging additional business investment via increasing the after-tax return on new investment."

Another debate is whether Australia should go ahead with the scheduled increases in compulsory super, taking it from its current 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2025.

Dr Richardson said it would not be a bad idea to delay or abandon the super guarantee increase until wage growth rises above 3 per cent or unemployment returns to 5 per cent ... d=msedgdhp

NZ COPS THE TAIL END OF THE ANTARCTIC BLAST - Spring storm brings snow to New Zealand's beaches and travel chaos
A spring weather bomb has battered New Zealand, closing roads, dumping snow on beaches and causing dozens of flight cancellations.

The country’s Met service described the storm as “the worst of the season” and said it was the result of a low-pressure system moving up the country from Antarctica. The system was “very unusual in how widespread the severe weather is” and was a significant weather event, a release from the service said.
The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research said parts of the South Island could feel as cold as -20C on Monday and Tuesday.

Snow has fallen on the tourist hub of Queenstown where most flights in and out of the resort were cancelled on Monday. Flurries also fell at sea level in Wanaka, Dunedin and Te Anau.

On Stewart Island, at the bottom of the country, snow was falling on Oban beach, the Met service reported. In Southland and Fiordland the severe weather coincided with lambing season.

Snow was also forecast for beaches in Southland, Otago and Fiordland for two days but should clear by Wednesday.

Multiple weather warnings and watches were issued for the bottom half of the South Island, as well as the capital city of Wellington where gale force northwesterly winds gusting up to 120km/ph were predicted. Gale force winds could extend as far as Napier, on the east coast of the North Island.

The storm was unusually severe for spring, the Met service said, particularly as the winter of 2020 was the warmest on record in New Zealand.

Niwa forecaster Ben Noll said that seven of the 10 warmest winters on record in New Zealand had occurred since 2000: “It just showcases the trajectory that we are on.” ... d=msedgdhp

Rio Tinto smelter in focus as New Zealand's PM seeks extension
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that she will negotiate to extend the operations of Rio Tinto's aluminum smelter in the country by 3-5 years if she is returned to power in the Oct. 17 election.
New Zealand Aluminum Smelter's (NZAS) planned closure is a hot election topic as it puts thousands of jobs at risk, and would hit the bottom line of top power producers, at a time when the country is reeling from the economic impact of coronavirus.

The world's biggest iron ore miner has said it was closing the plant by August 2021 due to high costs and a challenging market.

"We are seeking to extend the life of the smelter between 3 to 5 years...," Ardern said at a news conference in Invercargill in Southland, the country's southernmost region where she is on a campaigning tour.

"By providing an extended time frame for the closure of the smelter we protect jobs now and give the community time to consider and plan for future opportunities...," she said.

NZAS consumes about 5,000 gigawatt hours of electricity a year, roughly 12% of the country's power. The smelter employs around 1,000 people directly and creates another 1,600 indirect jobs in the Southland region.

Ardern said if her ruling Labour Party-led government is returned to power it would work with Rio Tinto and state-owned electricity transmitter Transpower to reach a fair price for transmission costs over the closure period, to lessen the impact on power prices for other consumers.

The government could provide support to Transpower to enable reduced transmission charges, the ruling Labour party said in a statement announcing details.

"We are always open to continuing conversations that would see fairer costs established for the smelter," Rio Tinto's Managing Director of Pacific Operations Kellie Parker said in an emailed statement after Ardern's announcement.

Rio has been threatening to shutter the smelter for years as it demanded further subsidies from the government. Ardern said there would be no further direct subsidies from the government.

Shares of power firms were top gainers on the stock market as investors cheered news that the smelter operations may be extended.

Shares of Meridian Energy Ltd were up 6.6%, Contact Energy Ltd was higher 6.1% and Mercury NZ Ltd soared to 7.4% on the New Zealand bourse.
"We’re very pleased with this news as it demonstrates broad-based political support for an orderly transition to a post-Tiwai world," Contact Energy CEO Mike Fuge said in a statement.

Ardern, 40, is poised to retain power at next month's election, a widely watched poll showed on Sunday, although a recent COVID-19 outbreak has dented her support slightly.

Ardern's rival, the opposition National Party leader Judith Collins, has also promised to keep the smelter open by facilitating talks between Rio, power companies and Transpower if she won the polls. ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:21 am








CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Sep 29, 2020 6:00 am


Victoria records 10 new coronavirus cases and 7 more COVID-19 deaths
Premier Daniel Andrews says Victorians can have an "increased sense of confidence" about a substantial easing of restrictions on October 19, as Melbourne's 14-day average for new cases continues to fall.

Victoria recorded 10 new coronavirus cases overnight, as metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day average for new cases dropped from 20.3 to 18.2.

Seven more COVID-19 deaths have also been recorded in the state overnight.

Of today's 10 new cases, three are linked to known outbreaks and complex cases, and seven are under investigation.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the state remained "well-placed" to take a "substantial step" towards "COVID-normal" on or about October 18 or 19.

"The strategy is delivering us the lower numbers and I think an increased sense of confidence that we are going to be able to continue to take those safe and steady steps," he said.

The number of "mystery" coronavirus cases with an unknown source recorded in the latest 14-day period in Melbourne is now 27, down from 31 yesterday.

Regional Victoria's total number of cases with an unknown source remains at zero and its 14-day new case average is still sitting at 0.6.

Public health officials will use the 14-day average and the two-week unknown case total to assess when further restrictions can be lifted.

The goal for Melbourne to progress to step three of the roadmap is a statewide 14-day case average of five, and a total of five "mystery" cases over two weeks.

Contact tracing performance improved, Premier says
At his daily coronavirus briefing, Mr Andrews said the state's contact tracing system was now meeting key metrics including contacting all positive cases within the first 24 hours of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) being notified.

He said just fewer than 80 per cent of interviews with cases were being conducted within four hours of DHHS being notified, and all interviews were now being completed within 24 hours.

All known close contacts were being contacted within 48 hours, he said.

"We've seen, obviously, when you're not overwhelmed by literally thousands of cases, then this contact tracing team, like any contact tracing team around the world, are in a position to respond even more quickly and that's exactly what they're doing," Mr Andrews said.

"That should give every Victorian significant confidence that because of investment, because of improvements, because of just the position we find ourselves in, and the nature of the challenge, that continuous improvement will serve us well as we continue to open up."

Premier backs department heads but declines to comment on quarantine inquiry
Asked to comment on final submissions to the inquiry into the state's hotel quarantine program, where inquiry lawyer Ben Ihle argued the scheme had failed, Mr Andrews said it was important to wait for the final report from the head of the inquiry, former Family Court judge Jennifer Coate, which is due in November.

"The most important thing is to wait until we get the report," Mr Andrews said.

"The exact nature of those mistakes, the exact nature of recommendations, what action is needed in the view of the board of inquiry, I can't predict what that is now.

"We simply have to wait for the report."

But Mr Andrews said he was satisfied that three senior departmental secretaries whose actions were closely scrutinised by the inquiry could remain in their roles.

Asked whether he would resign over the failure of the quarantine program, Mr Andrews said he was not going anywhere.

"I indicated the other day I don't run from challenges. I don't run from problems. I'm not someone who quits to avoid doing the hard work that needs to be done," he said.

"I've got a big job to do and I'm dedicated to getting it done."

Mr Andrews said he would wait for Ms Coate's report before allowing international passenger flights back into Victoria.

Premier clarifies rules on weddings, learner drivers and cricket nets
At the briefing, Mr Andrews also moved to clarify the rules on several activities under Melbourne's current restrictions:

* He said learner drivers could practise their driving, but only if they were out for one of the four reasons to leave home, such as shopping for essential items

* He said there was no 5-kilometre travel limit for weddings, but Melburnians could not travel to regional Victoria unless they were a celebrant who was working at the wedding

* All apartment complex swimming pools, including outdoor ones, would remain closed, with only non-residential outdoor swimming pools able to open

* Cricket nets can be used in public spaces so long as their use does not involve opening or using any other sporting facilities, but the 5-kilometre rule and two-hour exercise limits apply

* Dogs can be groomed in retail stores in Melbourne, and from home in regional Victoria

* Emergency repairs can take place at occupied properties, but no renovation or interior design can be undertaken if the property is occupied

Melburnians can travel over the metro-regional border for childcare, but their restrictions follow them, meaning they cannot dine at cafes or restaurants or join gatherings that would breach Melbourne's restrictions.

But the Premier said "unless you absolutely have to go", Melburnians should avoid travelling to regional Victoria, even if it was lawful.

"Because there is a risk that you're taking the virus with you," he said.

Hygiene measures have more impact than 5km radius, expert says
Melbourne's 5-kilometre rule, which restricts people's movement to within a small radius of their homes, is not expected to be lifted until the third step of the restrictions roadmap.

Some businesses have called for it to be lifted earlier.

Peter Collignon, a professor of infectious diseases at Australian National University, said the radius rule made policing people's movement easier, but in itself did not do much to stop the spread.

"In itself, it's just a mechanism of making people less crowded together and spreading it," he told ABC Radio Melbourne.

"Therefore once you get to low levels of transmission it probably doesn't add a lot more, as long as people are adhering to those basic rules like washing hands and physical distancing."

Professor Collignon said someone driving more than 5km for a socially distanced outdoor activity, like walking in a park, carried little risk of transmission.

"A lot of the things that people enjoy and appreciate — like a walk in a park somewhere — if they keep social distancing, if it's outside, it would be almost no increased risk to others or themselves, providing they keep to the rules," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne restrictions have eased under Victoria's coronavirus roadmap, but who can return to work first?
Melbourne has entered the second step of its coronavirus roadmap and 127,000 Victorians are heading back to work.

Some industries that were completely shut down can start to reopen, and others that were operating with restricted workforces can increase their capacity.

Who can return to work?
With childcare centres reopening, and kinder resuming in term 4, many early learning staff will be back at work.

And those industries that saw their workforces limited under stage 4 lockdown will be able to bring back more workers and increase production.

Supermarkets and food distribution centres will return to full capacity.

Abattoirs, seafood and meat processing plants will increase their output.

Manufacturing will be able to reinstate up to 90 per cent of its workforce.

And there'll be a partial return to work for wholesale trade, postal and distribution services.

There'll be more health workers permitted to return to face-to-face services, although telehealth must be the first option where appropriate.

Dental clinics can offer non-urgent treatments and all registered health workers, social workers, speech pathologists, dieticians, audiologists, exercise physiologists, orthotists and prosthetists can provide some face-to-face services.

Mechanics can again offer more than just repairs and critical maintenance, with the resumption of scheduled and logbook servicing and safety inspections.

Outdoor pools are reopening, so there will be some lifeguards and operators employed there.

Real estate agents can take clients through homes in private inspections.

Photographers, videographers and stylists can get access to properties for marketing purposes.

A limited number of higher education and Vocational Education and Training (VET) staff will return to work, with the new concession allowing apprentices and university students in their final year of study to be onsite for necessary learning and assessments.

Construction work can continue with restrictions.

Judges and associates can return to court buildings to access urgent or priority matters.

What about sole traders?
Sole traders doing outside gardening and landscaping can return to work as long as they work alone.

Pet groomers can also return to work in a retail store to accommodate genuine animal welfare issues.

Personal trainers can resume with a maximum of two clients per session but it must be outdoors only.

Household cleaners are only able to work for people with needs related to age, disability, illness, a chronic health condition or other medical reason.

How will workplaces be different?
If you can work from home you must work from home — that doesn't change.

But for permitted industries where people must be on site there will also be some extra rules to ensure they're operating as safely as possible.

Every workplace with staff members on site must have a COVID-Safe plan.

There will also be additional obligations around cleaning, training and separating workers into bubbles to reduce the number of people they come into contact with.

There is also the likelihood of surveillance testing in high-risk workplaces.

Will I need to get a COVID-19 test before returning to work?
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday that the Government was "putting the final touches" on a plan to see more tests conducted in high-risk industries such as meatworks, distribution centres, aged care facilities and health settings.

He said the plan would be focused on industries where the virus had been known to spread rapidly, as well as industries where the population was particularly vulnerable.

"I can't rule out that we make participating in what would be broadly surveillance testing in higher risk environments [a condition] to allow those industries to get close to 100 per cent," he said.

"We continue to speak with people about that."

Mr Andrews said workers would not be compelled to take a test but the Government would "strongly encourage" a portion of the workforce to be part of the testing program.

He said that would serve a number of purposes:
* Finding the virus if it's there
* Confirming that the virus isn't there
* Being able to lock down, isolate and support people when they test positive
* Visiting businesses on-site to ensure they're as COVID-safe as possible and complying with rules around staff movement, lunchrooms, creating separate cohorts of workers, and PPE
* Increasing Victoria's overall testing rates

A trial of saliva testing conducted with 1,000 police officers working at Bendigo, Spencer Street and Dandenong police stations has just concluded. If deemed successful, it could be rolled out as a quicker, easier and less invasive model of testing in some workplaces.

Do I still need a permit to go to work?
Yes, if you're a permitted worker your employer will need to give you a Permitted Worker Permit so you can travel whatever distance is required to get to work.

On-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals, and up to $9,913 for businesses, apply to employers and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.

Sole traders must issue a worker permit and sign it as both the employer and employee.

What if I can't return to work?
If you can't return to work, there's good news and bad news.

The good news is that JobKeeker has been extended through to March next year.

The bad news is that the rate is changing depending on how many hours you were working before you claimed the payment.

Originally everyone was paid a flat rate of $1,500 per fortnight.

From September 28, it was cut to $1,200 a fortnight if you were working 20 hours or more during the reference periods in February or June.

If you worked less than 20 hours a week in both of those periods, the part-time rate is cut to $750 per fortnight.

That rate will drop further from January 4 next year.

There are also changes to the JobSeeker payment.

It's made up of a $565 a fortnight base rate (formerly called Newstart) and the top-up coronavirus supplement of $550.

That supplement payment is being cut to $250 from September 25.

The coronavirus supplement will continue until the end of the year but the Government has not said what will happen after that. ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne border residents cry out to be reclassified as regional
Residents living in Melbourne's Cardinia Shire have launched a petition to be reclassified as regional Victoria, with zero active cases in the region.

More than 2500 community members have signed the petition, calling for the state government to rezone Cardinia Shire as regional.

"They have taken away our choice and what do they do to prisoners - take away their choice - we have done absolutely nothing wrong - we have had zero cases here," Garfield resident Dale White said.
Residents living on the fringe told 9News they were fed up.

"I feel like we are being singled out, on one hand they are happy to say I live in a rural area but then want to class where I live as metro region so just fairness and equality for everyone," Bunyip resident Jamie Aherne said.

"It doesn't look like metro to me, but we are under the same restrictions and it has made life very difficult.

"My kids go to school in Baw Baw Shire and I have one that works down there too."

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews was quick to shut down suggestions for boundaries to be amended.

"We are not changing the regional to metro border," he said.
"If we start carving up (and) redefining the whole state, that's not necessarily conducive to do that.

"It's just three weeks, long enough that the numbers are real and the prospects are likely, very likely, that we won't have to change the settings."

Despite this, the community is continuing its fight, making renewed calls to scrap the 5km radius rule.

"We think it's easy to draw a line in the sand at the checkpoint and everywhere east of the checkpoint could have a different set of rules because they are small communities, farming communities that are spread out," Narracan MP Gary Blackwood said.

The boundaries are not only impacting Cardinia shire residents.

Map shows Cardinia Shire is right on the Melbourne and regional Victoria border
Business owners in Longwarry - which is categorised as regional Victoria - are also struggling as they rely on regular customers from the neighbouring towns which are still in lockdown.

"We are usually absolutely packed on school holidays, all the families would come in, we have friends and locals in Bunyip that would come in but they can't so it's definitely impacting us a lot," Soul Sisters café owner Melanie Browney said. ... d=msedgdhp

Coronavirus hit Beeac hard, but the tiny Victorian town is on the mend
Beeac took a hit when coronavirus swept through, but the tiny Victorian town is now back on its feet.

In August, Beeac was dealing with a big problem: coronavirus was quickly spreading through the region, with 136 cases in nearby Colac and 11 in the small area surrounding the town.

Bruno Dimasi and his partner Monique Adamson contracted the virus after watching the footy with their mates in July and are only just coming good now.

Mr Dimasi's infection saw him hospitalised for two weeks and he's still dealing with fatigue and brain fog.

"I was absolutely blown away [by] the fact that we got it, I was not expecting it," Mr Dimasi said.

"I didn't think it would happen. And sadly, for us individually, it did."

But if there was a silver lining to the couple's experience, it was the support they received from their tight-knit community.

Mr Demasi said the hardest part of being hospitalised was knowing his partner was completely isolated at home. But help was always at hand.

"You may not see them on a day-to-day basis and you might not hear from them all the time, but when the chips are down, people in this town come out of the woodwork.

"And you're just surprised at the amount of people that are saying, 'Hey, what can I do for you, what do you need?'"

The pandemic hits the postie
Life in Beeac revolves around the post office and the pub.

Mr Demasi said he rarely made it in and out of the post office in less than 20 minutes.

"Two minutes turns into 20 and there goes your morning," he said.

For the past 27 years, Dave Clancy has been delivering mail in the town.

This year, demand is booming with around 120 parcels needing to be delivered each day to the roughly 230 people the post office services.

And eventually, as cases rose, the virus found its way to the post office; Mr Clancy was a close contact of a positive case.

"We were quite thankful that we were away from Melbourne.

"But the next thing you know, coronavirus has arrived here and we've all had to just be quite aware about how we do things and just how vulnerable you are."

That message was driven home when his father died at a nursing home in Werribee.

"I feel sorry every day for the people who've lost their lives because I know what it feels like," Mr Clancy said.

"So it's been a tough month-and-a-half. It sucks. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.

"People are coming back, coming out of their houses. It's like an awakening."

Beers are back on in Beeac
A perfect spring Sunday in Beeac, combined with regional Victoria's relaxed COVID-19 restrictions means the Farmers Arms is fully booked for lunch.

Publicans Dorothy and Ean McDowell are the 106-year-old pub's current custodians; restoring its charming 1960s wood-panelled bar years ago.

The latest additions are face masks for the front bar's two full-sized moose heads.

While takeaway meals kept the bills paid during round one of lockdown, things were much more difficult the second time around.

"It hit us really, really badly. And we struggled to, you know, without the government assistance and we'd be in big, big trouble," Ms McDowell said.

"But the community is really, really supportive, and once we started opening up, they started coming back again."

Unconstrained by the five-kilometre radius restrictions, residents of the surf coast, Geelong and nearby Colac are all booking tables at the Farmers Arms.

And while some in regional Victoria will be wary of Melburnians bursting out of the city when its strict lockdown is lifted, those travellers are essential for pubs like Ean McDowell's.

"Melbourne opening up will certainly help us and will be better for them," he said. ... d=msedgdhp

Nine staff at Melbourne hotels infected
Staff assigned to two Melbourne quarantine hotels have tested positive to coronavirus, despite an overhaul of the program after outbreaks among security guards sparked Victoria's second wave.

A spokeswoman from the Department of Justice and Community Safety on Tuesday confirmed nine people working at the Brady Hotel and Grand Chancellor Hotel in the CBD have contracted the virus since July 27.

The hotels have been providing accommodation to Victorians who cannot safely isolate at home.

"There are no active cases, with the last positive case in late August," the spokeswoman said.

Of the nine, one works for the Department of Health and Human Services while another is a Victoria Police member.

"Neither has been assessed as having acquired COVID-19 at a health hotel," the spokeswoman said.Another two staff members who contracted the virus were from Alfred Health, while the remaining five worked for catering and cleaning company Spotless.

The spokeswoman said the Alfred Health and Spotless cases were most likely due to community transmission "outside of the health hotels".

"There have been no positive COVID-19 cases of DJCS staff during this time," she said.

The hotel quarantine program has been overhauled and an inquiry set up after outbreaks among security staff at the Rydges on Swanston and Stamford Plaza hotels in mid-May and June.

Lawyers assisting the inquiry on Monday said the two outbreaks were to blame for the state's second wave of coronavirus, which has infected 18,000 people and claimed more than 750 lives.

"One only needs to pause and to reflect on those figures to appreciate the full scope of devastation and despair occasioned as a result of the outbreaks," Ben Ihle said.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos resigned on Saturday after she was named by Premier Daniel Andrews as the minister responsible for the program.

The DHHS handed over responsibility for the program to the Department of Justice in July.

The inquiry, headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate, will hand down its final report on November 6.

International flights will remain diverted from Victoria until the report is made public. ... d=msedgdhp

'I am not a doctor': Andrews cannot link COVID-19 to aged care deaths
Premier Daniel Andrews says he is not fit to judge whether deaths in aged care are linked to the coronavirus.

Despite announcing today six of seven coronavirus deaths overnight were linked to aged care, Mr Andrews said he was neither a coroner or doctor and so was not in a position to judge the cause of death.
When asked why residents in aged care were still contracting the virus, he said it was because it was a “wildly infectious virus”.

“I'm saying logic tells you if you've got people in the community and you've got people, by necessity, moving from the community into these settings, that is a risk,” Mr Andrews said.

“Whether that person has passed away as a resident in an aged care facility as opposed to a hospital, I haven't got that detail." ... d=msedgdhp

Vctoria hotel quarantine inquiry: systemic issues more urgent than individual blame
We have learned a lot from the judicial inquiry into hotel quarantine in Victoria, and the lessons should not be obscured by the fact that the failures were systemic and cultural, rather than the result of people acting corruptly or in bad faith.

Ministers, public servants and statutory officers have all minimised their own responsibility and some have had failures of memory we might see as convenient. But pinning guilt on individuals is of limited use.

The broad outline of what went wrong – the systemic failures – are clear from the evidence and were summed up yesterday in the closing addresses from counsel assisting the inquiry.

National cabinet made the decision to set up compulsory quarantine on 27 March. The first returning travellers were accepted into the program on 29 March.

Between those two events, multiple agencies were involved in emergency meetings, and the decision to use private security emerged, because the police made it clear they didn’t want to “babysit” the people in hotel quarantine.

There were three other conceivable options – defence forces, corrections officers or private security. The reluctance to use corrections staff is understandable. The detainees were not criminals.

Related: Daniel Andrews says Jenny Mikakos's decision to quit is 'appropriate'

Andrews believed that defence force personnel were not available. He attributes this to the national cabinet meeting, the details of which we will probably never know, although he has gone out of his way to lay emphasis on it a few times. Counsel assisting the inquiry, Anthony Neal QC, suggested no finding should be made against the government for failing to consider ADF at this time.

In his opening address, Neal said that in these frantic three days: “Decisions were made very quickly and in the absence, it seems, of precise lines of responsibility, control, supervision and management.”

Understandable and forgivable, perhaps, given the speed. But part of the problem was a lack of useful planning. There were state and federal pandemic plans but they weren’t very helpful documents. They did not include detailed plans for mass quarantine. They weren’t adequately reviewed and updated and when it came to it, they were largely ignored




A key question is why the reluctance of the police to get involved wasn’t challenged. Did anyone consider a middle course of having a small number of police to supervise private security? Did anyone push back or offer alternatives? It seems not.

Then, in what will surely be the subject of a stiff adverse finding from the inquiry, the contracts for security were drawn up to delegate responsibility for PPE, infection control and training to the private companies.

As counsel assisting made clear in questioning the premier, Daniel Andrews, last Friday, this is extraordinary. The government was well aware of the problems in the private security industry. Yet having deprived Victorians of their liberty, making them entirely dependent on government for their safety, the key infection control function that justified the operation was outsourced.

We now know that training, recruitment and the use of personal protective equipment was completely inadequate.

The responsibility for supervising the hotel spaces rested with the Department of Health and Human Services – the secretary, Kym Peake, and minister, Jenny Mikakos. For all the fudging in the evidence of those two people, that responsibility emerges clearly from the documentary and verbal evidence.

I am told an air of chaos and possible confusion was imported in early April, when the Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary, Chris Eccles, circulated by email news of a “significant reorientation of the public service” in response to the pandemic, including establishing a Missions Coordination Committee. This further centralised decision making while also, paradoxically, making it harder to tell who was in charge of aspects of the Covid response.

It was regarded by many senior public servants as not fit for purpose.

Nevertheless, the core responsibility of DHHS for managing the quarantine program from early April is indisputable. When Andrews told the inquiry that Mikakos was responsible, he may have been throwing her under the bus but he was also stating a fact. It is hard to see how he could have given any other answer without being contradicted by the documents emerging from his own cabinet.

The management by DHHS was clearly inadequate. First, the quarantine program was lead and managed as a logistical exercise, rather than one of infection control. The chief health officer was sidelined.

We now know that training, recruitment and the use of personal protective equipment was completely inadequate.

The responsibility for supervising the hotel spaces rested with the Department of Health and Human Services – the secretary, Kym Peake, and minister, Jenny Mikakos. For all the fudging in the evidence of those two people, that responsibility emerges clearly from the documentary and verbal evidence.

Related: Hotel quarantine inquiry: now Daniel Andrews faces the security guard question

I am told an air of chaos and possible confusion was imported in early April, when the Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary, Chris Eccles, circulated by email news of a “significant reorientation of the public service” in response to the pandemic, including establishing a Missions Coordination Committee. This further centralised decision making while also, paradoxically, making it harder to tell who was in charge of aspects of the Covid response.

It was regarded by many senior public servants as not fit for purpose.

Nevertheless, the core responsibility of DHHS for managing the quarantine program from early April is indisputable. When Andrews told the inquiry that Mikakos was responsible, he may have been throwing her under the bus but he was also stating a fact. It is hard to see how he could have given any other answer without being contradicted by the documents emerging from his own cabinet.

The management by DHHS was clearly inadequate. First, the quarantine program was lead and managed as a logistical exercise, rather than one of infection control. The chief health officer was sidelined.

When early reports of problems emerged, the first response seems to have been to deny they existed.

According to the evidence of Peake and Mikakos, the minister was not informed of problems in early May. This is so extraordinary it might stretch credulity, but I find it easy to believe.

There is a pattern which was also visible in DHHS’s management of the public housing tower lockdown in early July, which I reported for the Guardian. I saw how hard it was to get the agency to acknowledge problems and fix them. The arrogance and stubbornness was extraordinary. We are lucky nobody died as a result.

The agency has, thanks to outsourcing and under-resourcing, become a manager of contracts, while losing the operational knowledge and relationships with community that would allow it to judge whether the contractors are performing well. A toxic internal culture has seen good middle managers leave.

Covid comes along, and the cracks become chasms.

The hotel quarantine scandal has revealed deeper problems with the public service and the culture of the government. Counsel assisting the inquiry Ben Ihle said yesterday that senior public servants made deliberate decisions not to inform ministers, or were simply not across their brief.

Ministers should not be let off the hook here. It is their job to be alert for upward managers and take their own soundings. Nevertheless, something is clearly very wrong with how the public service is being managed.

On 15 May, a Covid-positive family of four arrived at Rydges Hotel. Ten days later, three members of staff were diagnosed with Covid.

Then Victoria had some bad luck.

Infected security guards attended large family functions, meaning case numbers boomed rather than trickled upwards. The contact tracing system was overwhelmed, the virus spread to aged care, and we know the rest.

From mid-June, Andrews seems to have taken charge after the scale of the leakage from hotels became clear.

Responsibility was transferred away from DHHS to the Department of Justice, corrections officers and infection control people from Alfred Health were brought in. But it was too late.

One issue not much examined by the inquiry is the role of ministerial advisors and staff. When a minister claims not to be have been told something, were their staffers told?

When they say they were not briefed, are they being conveniently literal minded – as in, there was no written brief – or do they include the numerous text messages, including on Signal and Whispr, that today form part of the way governments run?

There are some extraordinary lapses of memory, including in the evidence of Eccles regarding an 8 April email in which ADF support was offered by the commonwealth. Eccles apparently did not inform Andrews about this key change. He says he does not recall whether he told anyone else.

This is a point at which the story could have taken a different and better turn. What on earth was Eccles thinking?

But the systemic issues are more important than a quest for individual guilt.

We will probably never know what difference it would have made if any one of the elements of hotel quarantine had been better managed. Quarantine outbreaks have happened elsewhere, and been successfully contained.

And while the Victorian quarantine program clearly failed, it also partly worked. The vast majority of Covid-positive returned travellers did not infect anyone else.

Things are almost certainly better now than they would have been if travellers had been sent home to self-isolate. The bigger picture is that, by world standards, Australia and Victoria have done well.

Nevertheless, Victoria’s second wave was devastating, deathly and subjected a whole state to sustained low-level trauma.

The lessons are about better planning for predictable crises, and attention to the culture of government in Victoria; the need for ministers who are prepared to ask hard questions and public servants with the self-awareness and courage to be frank about problems.

Even in the teeth of an emergency, there should be questions asked and alternatives considered, and nimbleness in acknowledging and responding to problems and errors.

In the short term, senior public servants are likely to pay the price. Departments will likely be reorganised.

These have been expensive lessons. ... d=msedgdhp

Grieving families angry at Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission over perceived inaction during coronavirus pandemic
Sandra Morris outside Doutta Galla Yarraville, where her father Wilhelm died from COVID-19.

For Sandra Morris, the death of her father from coronavirus is not the worst of it. It was the days before he died that haunt her.

"It came through on his messages to me. He was distraught. He was frightened," Ms Morris said.

"I think he had a horrific time there in that last week or so at that facility."

Her father, Wilhelm Gunawardana, was living at Doutta Galla Yarraville — one of the 220 nursing homes around the country that has had a coronavirus outbreak.

Of these nursing homes there are still 62 facilities with active outbreaks, while more than 100 homes have recorded a single case.

After a staff member tested positive at the facility in Melbourne's inner-west, 92-year-old Wilhelm would ring his daughter on his mobile, telling her he was hungry because carers left meals on trays out of his reach.

He told her that he would wait for hours after he pressed the call bell to go to the toilet or when he fell out of his wheelchair.

"He would ring me and say, 'get me out of here, things are really bad, you can't understand how bad it is'," Ms Morris told 7.30.

Doutta Galla declined an interview but said in a statement: "While we cannot confirm or deny when or if these [incidents] occurred, if it was the case … this is unacceptable."

The not-for-profit facility apologised to residents and families, saying "Yarraville Village was under extreme pressure, and we did experience workforce challenges for a short period".

The Federal Government sent an emergency medical team into the Yarraville nursing home in early August. By September, 41 of the 47 elderly residents at the facility were infected with coronavirus.

Seventeen people died, including Wilhelm Gunawardana.

"What dad went through, no-one else should go through now, because they know what happened," Ms Morris said.

"They [the authorities] have the opportunity to make sure that sort of stuff never goes on again."

What makes her angry is that the federal regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, hasn't been to the Yarraville home since the outbreak.

"It's hard to imagine that a government body like that is just allowing dad's aged care facility to just go on operating without any implementation that they improve their standards," she said.

"I'm flabbergasted that that's happening."

The commission, which assesses nursing homes on 44 standards once every three years, hadn't visited the Yarraville home for 18 months.

In March 2019, the facility received a score of 100 per cent in an accreditation assessment, meeting all 44 standards.

Home given perfect score six weeks before outbreak
Yarraville is not the only Doutta Galla home with coronavirus. Of its eight homes, four have had outbreaks, with 184 staff and residents infected.

One of those facilities, where 42 staff and residents were infected and five people died, had been given the tick of approval by the regulator shortly before its outbreak.

The Quality and Safety Commission re-accredited Doutta Galla Woornack on July 20 this year without any assessor going on site to do an audit, due to the "exceptional circumstances" of the COVID pandemic.

That was despite the home being declared as posing a "serious risk" to residents' safety pre-coronavirus in April 2019, when it failed one of the standards.

Dr Rodney Jilek, an independent nurse consultant and ex-assessor with the regulator, said the Quality and Safety Commission should have been on site at facilities before, during and after the outbreaks.

"I think the biggest issue has been that the regulator hasn't actually been on site. So there was not a robust regulatory response in terms of preparedness for sites," he said.

"It's a poor excuse to say they couldn't risk infection control by being in there. Would we say that if it was a childcare centre and there were children who had died?

"I think that's an horrific outcome for residents in those homes and also the regulator, because they cannot have appropriate oversight of a service unless they actually go there and see what is happening."

Regulator visits just 13 per cent of aged care outbreaks
Since the start of the pandemic, ABC Investigations can reveal that the Quality and Safety Commission has visited just 30 of the 220 nursing homes with coronavirus outbreaks.

That equates to 13 per cent of clusters. The commission has visited 14 services in Victoria, nine in NSW, four in Queensland and three in Tasmania.

The ABC's 7.30 and Four Corners programs have made repeated requests for interviews with Commissioner Janet Anderson, but she has always been "unavailable".

In a statement, Ms Anderson said "site visits by the regulator are only one tool in effective regulation" and that the watchdog "relies on a wide range of intelligence-gathering processes including but extending well beyond site visits".

"In some instances it may not be appropriate or safe for the commission to visit a service until the outbreak is over," Ms Anderson said.

Commission under pressure
Even before the crisis in Victoria, the Quality and Safety Commission had been criticised for suspending on-site inspections of nursing homes for some months just as the pandemic was beginning in Australia.

ABC Investigations can reveal the regulator's own figures show it visited just 63 of 766 Victorian nursing homes in the first half of the year.

At the Aged Care Royal Commission in August, Ms Anderson was criticised for phoning providers to ask them to rate their preparedness for the pandemic.

Almost every single aged care provider — 95.5 per cent — rated themselves as ready, with almost half rating themselves as "best practice," including Newmarch House in Sydney, where 19 residents died.

Both the Federal Government and Ms Anderson denied they didn't do enough, saying the rate of community transmission in Victoria meant infections in aged care were unavoidable.

'No transparency' to who gets sanctioned
The commission has since taken tough action against 20 aged care homes with outbreaks by placing sanctions on most of them for six months. That still represents less than 10 per cent of facilities with clusters.

Dr Jilek is a nurse adviser to one of the 20 homes issued with a sanction and was critical of the commission's decision-making, which he said was arbitrary.

"The decision-making is completely opaque. There is no transparency," he said.

"I can't see that there's any correlation between the number of residents that have been infected, or staff that have been infected, or deaths, that can categorically say that this is the data that they've used to issue notices.

"I can't speak for other homes, but certainly the home that I've been to, the regulator has not been to and what I'm hearing from other advisors is that has been the case in their homes as well."

Following questions from the ABC, the regulator said it went on site to just six of those 20 facilities to issue sanctions.

Ms Anderson said the sanctions were placed after information from federal and state departments of health and first responders.

Provider with worst clusters escapes tough sanction
Since the start of the pandemic, Victorian authorities have published the worst 10 clusters every day and nine of those facilities have been sanctioned, including well-known outbreaks at St Basils and Epping Gardens.

However, a home from aged care provider Bluecross at Ruckers Hill, which recorded 131 cases and 12 deaths, was not sanctioned.

In a statement, Ms Anderson said the regulator's assessor had " determined that [Bluecross Ruckers Hill] was taking necessary action to remediate the circumstances and was satisfied that there was no immediate and severe risk to the health, safety or wellbeing of care recipients at the service".

Bluecross is a private company and one of the country’s biggest aged care providers, with 23 residential care facilities.

Ten of its facilities have had coronavirus outbreaks. More than 280 residents and staff have been infected with the virus and 45 residents have died.

Yet, no-one from the regulator has visited any of the Bluecross sites since the outbreak.

The ABC asked Ms Anderson whether it would investigate Bluecross given the large numbers of infections and deaths.

In a statement, she said "the commission does not disclose planned and unannounced visits to a service or provider in order to maintain the integrity of the commission’s regulatory activities".

Ms Anderson said the commission issued Bluecross with a notice regarding failings of standards on September 5.

She said it was not yet published as she was "giving them an opportunity to respond" and "an undertaking to remedy" the situation.

The ABC has searched the commission’s website and found that all but one of the Bluecross homes had been given scores of 100 per cent for quality and safety for the past two years.

"In a lot of respects, it [the regulator] is unfortunately, a toothless tiger," Dr Jilek said.

"The ramifications when it does take action are very short term."

Daughter says goodbye to father over livestream
Amanda Miha's father Tas was at one of those facilities, Bluecross Autumdale.

Before the outbreak, she installed a camera in his room that allowed her to log in to watch and speak to her father.

"Basically, because we couldn't be by his bedside, this was us being by his bedside," she said.

"So we would be there every mealtime to encourage him.

"I was there the day his oxygen level did drop and they had to get oxygen for him. Then the oxygen eventually just wasn't doing enough."

A nurse rang Amanda's family early one morning so they could say goodbye to the 88-year-old.

In the end, more than half of the 42 residents at Bluecross Autumdale contracted the virus.

Thirteen died, including Amanda's father.

"It's the way that hundreds of these people are dying," she said.

"I remember the day when I heard Dan Andrews say a man in his 80s had died and I was like, "that's my dad'.

"For the public, it probably … just washes over them. We've heard these numbers so many times. We need to put faces to these numbers."

No one from the Quality and Safety Commission visited Bluecross Autumdale.

"I looked at the Bluecross Autumdale [regulator's] report and the first thing that I was really surprised by was that the audit was three years ago," Ms Miha said.

"I was thinking to myself, 'oh, they probably did it at the start of the year' because I thought that would be a reasonable thing to do when there's a pandemic coming, so I was really shocked."

More than 4,000 aged care staff and residents have been infected with coronavirus, with 657 dying — making up 75 per cent of all coronavirus deaths in the country. ... d=msedgdhp

'Movement means virus': Premier says Melbourne's 5km rule is still needed
The rule confining Melburnians to within five kilometres of their homes remains necessary, despite doubts about how effective it is in decreasing transmission of coronavirus, Premier Daniel Andrews says.

Several leading infectious disease experts have said they are unconvinced about the merits of the five-kilometre rule, which is set to remain in place until October 19.


Deakin University epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett has questioned why the state government is yet to use epidemiological modelling to test the effectiveness of its travel five-kilometre rule.

Mr Andrews on Tuesday pushed back on any scepticism of it.

"With the greatest of respect to Catherine Bennett, she's not the Chief Health Officer," he said.

"This strategy is working. The numbers are coming down and there are aggregate benefits from each of the measures we've taken. That doesn't mean that ... every person from public health across the world would necessarily agree with every decision we've made but have you to call these things and that's what we've done.

"Movement means virus. It's as simple as that. It's about reducing movement. That's what stay at home orders are all about. That's what just about every single one of the measures we've put in place - it's about reducing movement."

Victoria recorded 10 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and seven more deaths.

The number of active cases in the state dropped from 359 to 326. Tuesday's figures bring the state's rolling 14-day average to 18.9.

That number needs to be five or less, for the five-kilometre rule to be lifted as Melbourne moves towards step three of the government's roadmap out of lockdown.

With most of Victoria's new coronavirus cases linked to essential workers, including in aged care and at hospitals, leading infectious diseases physician Professor Peter Collignon said the five-kilometre radius was increasingly futile.

"It's like measles and german measles," he said of COVID-19. "We are not going to eliminate it or keep it eliminated. We have to have rules that make biological sense, but that don't restrict us so badly that we can't function in any sort of life."

There are some exceptions to the five-kilometre rule under current restrictions, including those who are providing care, single people visiting a nominated person in another household, intimate partners, and people taking children to school and child care.

Those who gather outdoors to meet people from another nominated household - as was allowed from Monday - must not travel more than five kilometres from their home to meet. ... d=msedgdhp

Melburnians urged to turn in neighbours breaking COVID-19 restrictions
Melburnians are being urged to dob in their neighbours if they see anyone breaching coronavirus gathering restrictions over the weekend as the weather warms up.

Victoria Police has implemented a $5000 fine as a deterrent to the public AGAINST UNLAWFUL PUBLIC GATHERINGS ,SINCE $1000 FINES WERE OBVIOUSLY NOT SUFFICIENT DETERRENT.

Officers have already broken up 10 gatherings including one which saw a group of adults hire a jumping castle. ... d=msedgdhp

COVID-19 spreaders won't face punishments if they fess up in Victoria
Police shut down 10 illegal house parties in Victoria over the weekend before fines tripled on Monday - but those who END UP COVID19 POSITIVE will get off scot-free IF THEY ARE 100% HONEST ABOUT THEIR MOVEMENTS , CONTACTS AND WHEN INTERVIEWED BY COVID19 TRACERS.

Fifteen people were fined at a family birthday party of at least 40 people in Hoppers Crossing in Melbourne's south-west on Sunday.

A phone video showed family standing shoulder to shoulder as they sung happy birthday while CCTV footage showed carloads of people arriving at the party.

Fines for unlawful gatherings in Victoria increased from $1,657 to $4,957 on Monday as the state battles 362 active cases.

But Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said those who test positive to COVID-19 will not have to pay the fine to encourage them to tell the truth and help contact tracers.

'Their positive diagnosis and their story about who they have been contact with is worth infinitely more than $5,000,' Mr Andrews said.

'I know that seems counterintuitive to people and we perhaps all would feel better if people who are doing the wrong thing got fined. We'd perhaps have a moment where we'd be slightly satisfied by that.

'The key point is, people will just not tell their story. They just won't and I don't think there's another jurisdiction, not one that I'm aware of, that does that.

The Victorian Premier admitted that waiving the $4,957 fine is 'counterintuitive' but said 'there can really be no other way'.

We're not going to make any decisions that would make it less likely that people give us the full and complete story,' he said.

Mr Andrews also said the fear of being fined was making symptomatic people avoid getting tested for coronavirus in the first place.

'People are not getting tested because they feel that if they get tested and they are positive, they might find there's some sense of shame, stigma or a penalty,' he said.

'The most valuable commodity at the moment is anyone with any symptoms, coming forward and getting tested. That allows us to protect them, their family and every family. That's the fact of this, we've got to keep these testing rates up.'

Mr Andrews warned 'there's COVID normal Christmas' if people continue to defy the rules.

'No way, we're nowhere near that. That's what at play here. I know it doesn't sit right for some. Even against logic some of it doesn't sit right. But it's the only way you can go,' he said.

Victorians are currently allowed to have a maximum of five guests by starting a 'house bubble' with one nominated household while 10 people can gather in public.

There were 10 new cases and seven deaths of COVID-19 in Victoria on Tuesday, bringing the total number of active cases to 362. ... d=msedgdhp

Melbourne lockdown breach
Three men are expected to be fined after they breached locked and had to be rescued from a capsized boat near Altona.

Three men have been fined for breaching Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown restrictions after they had to be rescued from a capsized boat overnight.

Police were called to the Altona Pier, in Melbourne's west, after reports a boat was in trouble two kilometres offshore, just before 8pm.

Officers found the three men who were on board the boat had managed to step off it, onto a sandbar into shallow waters but could not get themselves back to shore due to the distance.

The Victoria Police airwing was called in and helped pick the men up and take them back to shore. No one was injured during the incident.

Police then found the men were out of the five-kilometre radius permitted for Melbourne residents to travel under current coronavirus restrictions.

ll three have been issued a $1652 fine for breaching health directions (5km from home rule).

Fire and SES rescue crews were also called in to help assist with police efforts. ... d=msedgdhp ... d=msedgdhp
CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm

Re: Life under social isolation or mandatory "stay home orde

Postby kingofnobbys » Tue Sep 29, 2020 7:13 am


NSW records no new locally acquired coronavirus cases for the fourth day in a row
NSW has reported no locally acquired COVID-19 cases for the fourth day in a row, in what Premier Gladys Berejiklian described as a "significant day".

Two new cases were recorded in hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of infections to date to 4,031.

The number of tests in the last reporting was period 6,381, compared with the weekend which recorded more than 12,000 tests on Saturday.

Ms Berejiklian again today highlighted the importance of people getting tested.

"I stress to everybody please get tested every day of the week, even if it’s on weekends, especially given it’s school holidays," she said.

"We can only keep doing well in New South Wales if we keep our testing rates high."

Ms Berejiklian said her Government would consider lifting some restrictions if the opportunity arose.

She did, however, reject a hospitality industry push to halve the 4-square-metre rule for pubs.

"It's very early days. We can't get ahead of ourselves," Ms Berejiklian said.

"The last time we were complacent the Victorian situation erupted."

NSW deputy chief health officer Jeremy McAnulty said despite the low numbers, the message was "don't delay" in getting tested if there was any indication of symptoms.

"COVID-19 may still be circulating the community so we all must be vigilant," he said.

"We thank the community for all the work you've done to reduce the COVID-19 numbers and continue to ask people to remain vigilant and come forward for testing immediately should symptoms occur.

"This is particularly important with school holidays now here and the increased movement of people around the state."

Ms Berejiklian refused to be drawn on Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews's comments that NSW had learned from Victoria's contact tracing system.

"I'm proud of what we have achieved in NSW. The results in NSW speak for themselves."

There have been nearly 2.7 million COVID-19 tests carried out in NSW since the beginning of the outbreak.

NSW Health is currently treating 55 cases, including three patients in intensive care.

No patients are being ventilated. ... d=msedgdhp

Former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy says some coronavirus aged care deaths were avoidable
Health Department Secretary and former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy says some coronavirus deaths in aged care could have been avoided if governments had responded to the outbreak in Victoria faster.

Meanwhile, Western Australia has slightly eased some of its border restrictions with New South Wales and Victoria.

Here's what happened on Tuesday:

Former chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said some of Victoria's COVID-19 deaths may have been avoidable.
Western Australia has softened its hard border with Victoria and New South Wales, but it's not a free pass.
The Prime Minister wants more international arrivals to avoid hotel quarantine, instead allowing them to isolate at home.
Further shuffling of Victorian ministers was announced, after the resignation of health minister Jenny Mikakos.
No new cases were reported in Queensland, and New South Wales has now gone four days without a locally acquired case.
Ten new cases were reported in Victoria, and Melbourne's daily average has dropped to 18.2. ... d=msedgdhp

NSW pubs and clubs could double the amount of customers allowed
Pubs and clubs in New South Wales could soon host double the amount of patrons allowed inside as the state goes two days without any new COVID-19 cases.

Industry leaders are reportedly in talks with the state government to ease current restrictions to allow one person per two square metres.

The current one person per four square metre rule has been in place since May and has weighed heavily on the hospitality industry, with food and beverage sales down 60 per cent.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday more needed to be done before big changes could be made.

'Let's not get ahead of ourselves after a few days of zero cases,' Ms Berejiklian said.

'We already eased some restrictions last week and are going as fast as we can to help businesses, the economy, and jobs, but we need to make sure we do it at the right pace.

'We will ease restrictions wherever and whenever it is safe to do so, but unlike some other states we have to do it with open borders and will an eye on the situation in Victoria.'

Government ministers like Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres and Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello have had discussions with industry groups on easing patron rules.

Peter V'landys, NSW Racing boss and rugby league chairman, said he expected the state would lift restrictions after such few cases were recorded.

'There is no way Gladys Berejiklian or the NSW Government is going to let Queensland out-do them. Surely whatever Queensland can do we can do,' he told the Daily Telegraph.

'We can't call to open borders in one breath but constrain our own economy at the same time.'

Meanwhile, Australian chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan said businesses could profit $20,000 more a week with an easing of restrictions.

'The government keeps going on about jobs, jobs, jobs, yet it seems the restaurant businesses are being left out a bit. We're turning away customers because we're only at 50 per cent capacity,' he said.

The Australian Hotels Association said increasing the number of customers could allow for 15,000 new jobs in the hospitality sector.

The one person per two square metre rule has already been taken on in South Australia and Western Australia.

Queensland allows more patrons in venues under 200 square metres.

As NSW is about to enter into school holidays, the matter surrounding patrons will be highly considered if there is no new spike in infections.

It comes after NSW recorded no new coronavirus cases on Monday and Sunday with just one infection on Saturday.


Maritime union rejects claims medical supplies held 'at ransom'
Port Botany in Sydney where a stand off is underway over a long-running pay dispute.
There are fears container ships stuck off the Sydney coast could result in major delays to crucial medical supplies, while shelves could be left empty in the lead up to Christmas.

A standoff between the Federal Government and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) is underway over a long-running pay dispute.

The MUA has denied medical supplies and fresh produce were being held up, saying exemptions were in place to allow these items into the country.
It also rejected reports up to 90,000 containers at Port Botany in Sydney were stuck in limbo as the union attempts to negotiate a pay rise. It's believed 20,000 of those containers are destined for Melbourne.

But Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the union was "wrong" in claiming there were no delays to medical supplies.

"We've had a meeting of what is called the Medicines Shortage of Working Group with the Therapy Goods Administration and there are delays," Mr Hunt told Today.

"There are risks and there are consequences and I would respectfully say to those in the union that are denying that there are risks to medicines, the advice they have is false, incorrect and untrue."

Mr Hunt said it was "so fundamental" that medical supplies were allowed in.

"Medicines which are vital for the health of Australians are being delayed. There's no question about that.

"And that could pose very shortly a real risk to Australians. So, at the moment, the supplies are already here, but the new supplies that we need are sitting in ships offshore."

In Sydney, up to 10 ships are waiting off the port, while others have been diverted to Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Operators are forking out $25,000 a day to cover costs while waiting to berth.

The world's biggest freight line, Maersk, has stopped sending ships to Sydney but is operating out of other ports across the country.

"We are not holding the country to ransom, far from it," the MUA's Paul McAleer told Today.

"We are seeking to negotiate a new enterprise agreement and these sort of hysterical ravings happen every three four years whenever we are negotiating."

He rejected suggestions of a huge backlog of containers waiting to come into port.

"There aren't 90,000 containers waiting to come," Mr McAleer said.

"There are no extensive delays. And what we are seeing is just small delays.

"Our farmers are hurting and it is not wharfies that are hurting them, it is climate change. It is not wharfies that are affecting their business.

"We went to Patricks (Patrick Terminals) and said that we would exempt any fresh produce. We have also exempted all of the refrigerated containers which have a great deal of the produce in them.

"There is no industrial action against any of those containers whatsoever and the idea that we are hurting farmers is ridiculous."

As for suggestions crucial medical supplies were being held up, Mr McAleer slammed the idea.

"We haven't stopped one tablet or one bottle of medicine reaching the Australian public. It is ridiculous."

Yesterday farmer Pete MacSmith from NSW Milling in the NSW Central West said the company had a bumper canola season, but were currently unable to get their product onto ships.

"We've got containers lined up for China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, New Zealand, Fiji," Mr MacSmith said.

"It couldn't be more devastating to an industry that was starting to see some hope after three years of tough times."

Patrick Terminals went to the Fair Work Commission yesterday to force the union to call off the industrial action and the Federal Government has offered its support.

"We need to get our produce out of that port," Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said.

The union's actions are completely legal, and Patrick Terminals has to prove to the Fair Work Commission that the industrial action is having an economic impact and must be stopped.

The union wants a six per cent lift in pay over four years but Mr McAleer conceded wharfies probably won't get the pay rise they've been hoping for.

"We think it will be much closer to 2.5, than six, but you can never discount a bit of luck," he said.

Today – which happens to be World Maritime Day – Mr McAleer said it was important to recognise the contribution and sacrifice of seafarers and maritime workers around the world.

"All workers in this country are hurting at the moment and we will work alongside anybody how is willing to sit down and negotiate in good faith with us," he said.

"We understand the importance of our role in the national economy. We just want to be paid fairly for that and to make sure that we come home safe at the end of the day."

CBDs: Cleopatra & Caesar born 28Jan19.
Puff (RIP 10Dec15),Rex (RIP 16Mar17),Toothless (RIP 26Nov17).Peppa (RIP 22Mar19).
EBTSs : George & Mildred (born july 2010).
EWSs : , Fluffy (F) rescued injured by lawnwacker 14Nov17, Gutzy (F) rescued 27Sep19 - RIP 3Aug20 (est 12 yo), Wriggles (F) - injured rescue, over 8 yrs old, RIP 2Feb16 old age. Lucky juvenile (M) - cat attack rescue (lost r-eye, broken r-lower jaw), fatal SI RIP 21Jul2010.
kingofnobbys Sicko
Posts: 12574
Joined: Tue May 12, 2015 10:56 pm
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